Tattoo on 15-Year-Old Results in Arrest of Surprise Man; Kid's Dad "Flipped His Lid" After Seeing E-Mailed Photo of Tat



A Surprise resident who runs a home tattooing business illegally gave a tattoo to a 15-year-old, police say.

Craig Mooney, 27, now finds himself in a peck of trouble -- with an angry dad on his case.

The father received a text message on August 9 from his boy, who told him about the planned tattoo, says Surprise police spokesman Sergeant Mark Ortega.

"The parent replied, 'Whatever, you can't get one without permission,'" Ortega says. "He got another message saying 'I'm getting one.'"

Later, another text message arrived. This one had an attached picture of his son's chest -- which was now emblazoned with the name "Martinez" in letters four-inches high and embellished with little stars.

Under Arizona law, it's illegal to give a tattoo to anyone under 18 unless the minor's parent or legal guardian is present.

Ortega declined to reveal the significance of the tattoo because the case involves a minor.

The dad "flipped his lid" when he saw the tattoo and called police, who interviewed the kid at his high school. The boy admitted he'd received his father's text message, Ortega says, but claimed he thought his dad wasn't serious.

He reportedly told police that one of his friends recommended Mooney because of the man's reputed disdain for paperwork. Mooney used sterile equipment for the work and charged the kid $90.

Police tracked down the tattoo artist through a business card he'd given the teen.

Cops arrested Mooney on August 15 at his home in the 12800 block of North 142nd Avenue and booked him into county jail.

The man admitted he knew he should have checked the boy's ID, cops wrote in court records.

Police say the boy's father is willing to aid in Mooney's prosecution.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.