Top 24 Slang For Burglar – Meaning & Usage

Burglars, the cunning and elusive individuals who specialize in unauthorized entry and theft, have their own set of slang terms that often go unnoticed by the general public. Curious to know what these secret words are? Look no further, as we’ve done the research and compiled a list of the top slang for burglars. From “cat burglar” to “locksmith in the shadows,” get ready to delve into the hidden language of the underworld and gain a new understanding of this fascinating subculture.

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1. Safe cracker

This term refers to a person who specializes in breaking into safes or vaults to steal valuables. Safe crackers often possess specialized knowledge and skills in bypassing security measures and opening safes without detection.

  • For example, in a heist movie, a character might say, “We need a skilled safe cracker to get into the vault.”
  • In a discussion about famous burglaries, someone might mention, “The safe cracker was able to crack the combination in under 10 minutes.”
  • A news article might describe a recent burglary, stating, “The suspect used sophisticated tools to break into the safe, indicating the work of a professional safe cracker.”

2. Pickpocket

A pickpocket is a thief who specializes in stealing wallets, phones, or other valuables from people’s pockets or bags without their knowledge. Pickpockets often use sleight of hand techniques to discreetly remove items without being noticed.

  • For instance, a traveler might warn others, “Beware of pickpockets in crowded tourist areas.”
  • In a crime documentary, an expert might explain, “Pickpockets often work in pairs, with one distracting the victim while the other steals their belongings.”
  • A victim of pickpocketing might recount their experience, saying, “I didn’t even realize my wallet was gone until I checked my pockets later.”

3. Con artist

A con artist is a person who uses deception and manipulation to trick others into giving them money, valuables, or personal information. They often present themselves as trustworthy individuals in order to gain the confidence of their victims.

  • For example, a news report might warn, “Beware of con artists posing as IRS agents and demanding immediate payment.”
  • In a discussion about famous scams, someone might mention, “The con artist convinced dozens of people to invest in a fake business.”
  • A victim of a con artist might share their story, stating, “I fell for the con artist’s sob story and ended up losing thousands of dollars.”

4. Grifter

A grifter is a person who engages in fraudulent schemes or scams to deceive others out of money or valuables. They often use charm and persuasion to gain the trust of their victims before manipulating them for personal gain.

  • For instance, in a crime novel, a character might say, “The grifter convinced the wealthy widow to sign over her entire estate.”
  • In a discussion about online scams, someone might warn, “Don’t fall for the grifter’s promise of easy money.”
  • A victim of a grifter might describe their encounter, saying, “The grifter seemed so genuine and trustworthy, I never suspected they were trying to con me.”

5. Swindler

A swindler is a person who deceives others through fraudulent schemes or scams in order to obtain money or valuables. They often use cunning tactics and false promises to manipulate their victims.

  • For example, a news report might highlight, “The swindler posed as a financial advisor and stole millions from unsuspecting clients.”
  • In a discussion about common scams, someone might mention, “The swindler convinced people to invest in a fake cryptocurrency and disappeared with their money.”
  • A victim of a swindler might share their story, stating, “I can’t believe I fell for the swindler’s elaborate scheme and lost my life savings.”

6. Filcher

A filcher is someone who steals or takes something without permission, often in a sneaky or stealthy manner. The term is often used to describe someone who takes small or insignificant items.

  • For example, “The filcher was caught stealing candy from the store.”
  • In a conversation about theft, one might say, “Watch out for filchers who might snatch your belongings.”
  • A person might use the term to describe a pickpocket, saying, “Beware of filchers in crowded places.”

7. Pilferer

A pilferer is someone who steals small or insignificant items, typically without being noticed. The term is often used to describe someone who steals in a casual or nonchalant manner.

  • For instance, “The pilferer stole a few dollars from the cash register.”
  • In a discussion about shoplifting, one might say, “Pilferers often target convenience stores.”
  • A person might warn others about pilferers, saying, “Keep an eye on your belongings to prevent pilferers from taking advantage.”

8. Looter

A looter is someone who takes goods or valuables from a place, typically during a time of chaos or disorder, such as during a riot or natural disaster. The term is often used to describe someone who takes advantage of a situation to steal.

  • For example, “The looters ransacked the store during the protest.”
  • In a conversation about civil unrest, one might say, “Looters take advantage of the chaos to steal from businesses.”
  • A person might use the term to describe someone taking items during a power outage, saying, “There were reports of looters stealing from homes during the blackout.”

9. Plunderer

A plunderer is someone who steals or takes goods, typically in large quantities or from a place of value. The term is often used to describe someone who engages in organized theft or robbery.

  • For instance, “The plunderer stole valuable artifacts from the museum.”
  • In a discussion about heists, one might say, “Plunderers meticulously plan their robberies to maximize their loot.”
  • A person might use the term to describe a group of thieves, saying, “The police are on the lookout for a gang of plunderers.”

10. Ransacker

A ransacker is someone who breaks into a place and searches through it in order to steal or cause destruction. The term is often used to describe someone who engages in forceful entry and rummages through belongings.

  • For example, “The ransacker left a mess after breaking into the house.”
  • In a conversation about home security, one might say, “Ransackers often target houses with minimal security measures.”
  • A person might use the term to describe a career criminal, saying, “The notorious ransacker has been involved in multiple break-ins.”

11. Bootlegger

Originally referred to someone who illegally sold alcohol during Prohibition in the United States. However, it can also be used to describe a burglar, as they are “stealing” items in a similar way to how bootleggers illegally sold alcohol.

  • For example, “The bootlegger broke into the house and stole all the valuable items.”
  • In a discussion about crime in the 1920s, someone might say, “Bootleggers and burglars were often involved in organized crime.”
  • A detective investigating a burglary might mention, “We suspect this was the work of a bootlegger turned burglar.”

12. Safe-cracker

Refers to a burglar who specializes in cracking open safes or vaults to steal valuable items. The term emphasizes their skill and expertise in bypassing the security measures of safes.

  • For instance, “The safe-cracker was able to open the high-security vault in minutes.”
  • In a crime novel, a character might say, “We need a safe-cracker to help us with this heist.”
  • A security consultant might warn, “Investing in quality safes and security systems can deter safe-crackers.”

13. B&E artist

Describes a burglar who is skilled at breaking into buildings without being detected. The term “artist” suggests a level of creativity and finesse in their approach to breaking and entering.

  • For example, “The B&E artist was able to bypass the alarm system and gain access to the building.”
  • In a news report about a burglary, a journalist might say, “The police are on the lookout for a notorious B&E artist.”
  • A homeowner discussing home security might mention, “I installed surveillance cameras to deter B&E artists.”

14. Nightwalker

Refers to a burglar who conducts their criminal activities primarily during the nighttime. The term emphasizes their preference for operating under the cover of darkness.

  • For instance, “The nightwalker targeted houses when the residents were asleep.”
  • In a discussion about crime patterns, someone might say, “Nightwalkers tend to avoid houses with visible security measures.”
  • A police officer patrolling a neighborhood might mention, “We’re increasing patrols in areas known for nightwalker activity.”

15. Catman

Describes a burglar who is known for their ability to move silently and with agility, similar to a cat. The term highlights their stealthy approach to committing burglaries.

  • For example, “The catman was able to navigate through the house without making a sound.”
  • In a crime documentary, an investigator might say, “Catmen are often highly skilled and difficult to catch.”
  • A security guard discussing potential threats might mention, “We need to be on the lookout for catmen with lock-picking skills.”

16. Shadow

A “shadow” is a slang term for a burglar who operates in a stealthy and secretive manner, often avoiding detection by remaining unseen or unnoticed.

  • For example, “The shadow slipped into the house undetected and stole the valuable jewelry.”
  • In a crime novel, the author might describe a burglar as “a shadow in the night, silently moving through the dark.”
  • A detective investigating a burglary might say, “We suspect a shadow was responsible for this break-in.”

17. Spider

A “spider” is a slang term for a burglar who is adept at climbing, often using their skills to gain access to buildings or higher floors.

  • For instance, “The spider scaled the side of the building and entered through a second-story window.”
  • In a news report about a daring heist, the journalist might describe the burglar as “a spider who effortlessly climbed up the exterior of the museum.”
  • A witness to a break-in might say, “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the spider scaling the wall like it was nothing.”

18. Snatcher

A “snatcher” is a slang term for a burglar who specializes in swiftly grabbing and stealing valuables, often without being detected or leaving a trace.

  • For example, “The snatcher swiped the woman’s purse and disappeared into the crowd before anyone noticed.”
  • In a police report, an officer might describe a suspect as “a skilled snatcher who targets unsuspecting victims.”
  • A victim of a snatch theft might warn others by saying, “Watch out for snatcher gangs in crowded areas.”

19. Sticky fingers

“Sticky fingers” is a slang term for a burglar who has a tendency to steal things, often without permission or without the owner’s knowledge.

  • For instance, “The suspect had sticky fingers and couldn’t resist taking small items from stores.”
  • In a conversation about pickpockets, someone might say, “Be careful in crowded places, there are always people with sticky fingers around.”
  • A parent might scold their child by saying, “Keep your sticky fingers off other people’s belongings.”

20. Yegg

A “yegg” is a slang term for a burglar who specializes in cracking safes or breaking into secure places to steal valuable items.

  • For example, “The yegg used dynamite to blow open the bank vault and escape with the cash.”
  • In a discussion about famous heists, someone might mention “the legendary yegg who broke into the high-security museum and stole priceless artifacts.”
  • A detective investigating a safe-cracking case might say, “We suspect a yegg with extensive knowledge of safes was behind this burglary.”

21. Yardbird

This term refers to a person who has escaped from prison or is on the run from law enforcement. It is often used to describe a burglar who has a history of escaping or evading capture.

  • For instance, a news headline might read, “Yardbird eludes police for the third time.”
  • In a conversation about notorious criminals, someone might mention, “Al Capone was a notorious yardbird.”
  • A detective might say, “We have reason to believe that the suspect is a yardbird with experience in evading capture.”

22. Stick-up artist

This term refers to a person who commits robberies by using threats or force, often with a weapon. It implies that the burglar is skilled in the art of intimidating their victims into surrendering their belongings.

  • For example, a witness might describe a robbery by saying, “The stick-up artist entered the store and demanded all the cash.”
  • In a discussion about crime, someone might say, “Stick-up artists often target convenience stores and gas stations.”
  • A police officer might warn the public, “If you encounter a stick-up artist, prioritize your safety and comply with their demands.”

23. Con man

This term refers to a person who uses deceit and trickery to manipulate others, often for personal gain. While not exclusively used to describe burglars, it can be applied to those who use their cunning to break into and steal from homes or businesses.

  • For instance, in a conversation about notorious criminals, someone might say, “Frank Abagnale was one of the most famous con men of all time.”
  • A victim of a burglary might say, “I can’t believe I fell for the con man’s trick and let him into my house.”
  • A detective might explain, “Con men often exploit people’s trust and use elaborate schemes to gain access to their homes or valuables.”

24. Burglarizer

This term refers to a skilled thief who specializes in breaking into and stealing from homes or businesses. It implies that the burglar is adept at bypassing security measures and navigating through properties undetected.

  • For example, a news report might describe a series of burglaries by saying, “The neighborhood has been targeted by a burglarizer with a knack for evading capture.”
  • In a conversation about home security, someone might say, “Investing in a reliable alarm system can deter burglarizers.”
  • A victim of a burglary might say, “I couldn’t believe how quickly the burglarizer was able to gain entry and steal my belongings.”
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