By Nathan Baker
Police said a Hampton High School student’s new body art led to the discovery of what they say was a bootleg tattoo parlor in the mobile home of a Valley Forge man catering to underage clientèle under unhygienic conditions.
“He had several dogs living in the home with him where he would do the tattoos, and it was very unsanitary,” Carter County School Resource Officer Shane Watson said Thursday of 35-year-old Bobby Jack Lafollette. “Some of the needles he had were sealed, but some were lying around broken open so it was hard for us to tell whether he was using the sterile needles or not. There was really nothing sanitary about any of the equipment he had.”
Watson said the investigation began when a 15-year-old Hampton student arrived at school this week sporting a brand new “Mom” tattoo on his wrist.
“It looked pretty bad,” the officer said. “You could tell he didn’t have it done professionally.”
Watson said the student told police he received the tattoo at a home at 149 Mill Pond Road, Lot 5.
Inside that home, Watson said police found five tattoo machines and nearly 700 needles.
Because Tennessee mandates anyone who applies tattoos must be certified by the state and that tattoo recipients must be 18 or older, Lafollette was charged with tattooing without a license, possession of tattooing paraphernalia and tattooing a minor.
He was issued a summons to appear in General Sessions Court on Feb. 19 to answer to the misdemeanor charges.