After hearing a repeat criminal constantly being referred to as “Head,” Washington, D.C., police used a computerized database of nicknames to find out that Head was probably Azariah Israel, 32, an ex-convict who had spent time in jail for a gun crime and was already charged in another slaying, the Washington Post reports. They kept working the street and charged him this summer in four more killings.
The nickname database has been increasingly helping investigators solve crimes, especially in areas where even best friends sometimes don’t know each other’s real names. The repository has thousands of entries — such as Fat Boy, Boo Boo, Meatball, Money Cash, Big Stupid, Butter, P-Funk, Dirt and Ed Lover. Many evoke real or fictional gangsters — Gotti, Godfather, Corleone. “If our informant says the gunman’s name is Soup, we contact our officers and say, ‘You know a guy named Soup?’ ” said one officer. “If that doesn’t work, our database is pretty good. It narrows it down. What does he look like? Where does he live? Then we figure out, yeah, he’s the same guy. That’s Soup.”