Les voleurs à la tire ont le droit d'opérer dans cette zone.

English Translation

Pickpockets may operate in this area.

Why does it seem way more like it means pickpockets have the right to operate in this area? Would be strange but that’s how it seems to me.

This is an instance of a “clever” translation from English, possibly with the intent to show the ambiguity of the English language. If you follow the “Sentence Source” link you can see that the English sentence also has a couple of other, less contrived translations.

I think you mean the ambiguity of the French language. “Pickpockets may operate” and “Pickpockets have the right to operate” have very clear and distinctly different meanings in English.