E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
To filch. Sometimes a tailor is called cabbage, from his pilfering cloth given him to make up. Thus in Motteuxs Rabelais, iv. 52, we read of Poor Cabbages hair. (Old French, cabas, theft, verb cabasser;
Dutch, kabassen; Swedish, grabba; Danish, griber, our grab.)
Your tailor, instead of shreds, cabbages whole yards of cloth.Arbuthnots John Bull.
Cabbage is also a common schoolboy term for a literary crib, or other petty theft.