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The phrase "pop goes the weasel" is usually taken to refer to "popping" or pawning clothes. Perhaps the robber is taking the coat with the intention of pawning it.  Edward Royle writes that in 1830 there were "between 500 and 600 unlicensed pawnbrokers [in London, plus] 342 legitimate traders".
[Royle, Edward. <I>Modern Britain: A Social History 1750-2011</I>, p222]

 

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