Police: Tattooist's clients were teens

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

AUBURN — An Auburn tattoo artist is behind bars on charges he inked more than a dozen Gwinnett high school students and fudged a business license.

Josh Williams, 37, faces 13 misdemeanor charges of tattooing of underage persons and two felony counts of forgery in the Thursday arrest, police said.

Tattooing anyone under age 18 is against the law, except when done by a licensed physician or technician for cosmetic or medical purposes, according to Georgia code.

Williams set up a makeshift studio in his Fence Road home, where his clientele included students from Peachtree Ridge, Collins Hill and North Gwinnett high schools, one alleged client told police.

Police first caught wind of the underground parlor in November, when a 15-year-old Suwanee girl’s parents found text messages between her and Williams regarding a flower tattoo on her hip, according to a police synopsis of the case.

Police served a search warrant Nov. 24, when a cooperative Williams reportedly admitted to tattooing minors and provided a list of clients’ names. An officer found a forged business license hanging on a wall that belonged to Williams’ former employer, the report states.

Police balked at filing charges in November until an investigation could be completed. They eventually located and verified 13 different victims who received tattoos, the report states.

Williams remains at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond, pending a probable cause hearing.