Green’s Dictionary of Slang

toby n.2

[Shelta tobar or Rom. tober, the road, ? ult. Irish bothar, road. Note police jargon toby, an area, a police division]

1. [19C–1940s] (US Und.) highway robbery; as low toby, on foot, and high toby, mounted robbery.

2. a robbery (other than on the highway).

3. [19C–1950s] (also tober) the road, the highway, esp. as a place where robbers and highwaymen can find their victims.

4. [1930s] (also tobyman) a tramp; the life of tramping.

5. an area of responsibility, e.g. a police beat (equivalent to manor n.

In compounds

toby-cove (n.)

[mid-19C] (US Und.) a street robber.

toby-gill (n.) [gill n.1 (2)]

[early–mid-19C] a highwayman.

toby-gloak (n.) [gloak n.]

[19C–1900s] a highwayman.

toby lay (n.) (also toby concern) [lay n.3 (1)/SE concern]

1. [19C] highway robbery.

2. the highway [a poss. misreading which ignores the use of lay n.3 (1)].

tobyman (n.)

1. a highwayman.

2. [mid-19C] a street or house robber.

3. see sense 3 above.

In phrases

grand toby racket (n.)

[mid-19C] highway robbery.

on the toby

living as a tramp.