SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Some women in Springfield are regretting their decision last week to get a tattoo from a door-to-door tattoo salesman. At least one person had to be hospitalized and the others face serious health risks.
Friday night, a man knocked on doors holding a tattoo gun and offering his services. Tamra Eason described the tool as homemade, but still agreed to pay for a tattoo. So did two other women in her apartment complex.
"It was wrapped with black tape, had a pin underneath it, had fishing wire going through it, you could tell it was a homemade gun," Eason said.
The next day, Linda Falls passed out and had to be hospitalized.
"I passed out in the store and they said I should have it checked out," Falls said.
All the women have an infection in the tattoo area and have been told to get tested for HIV and hepatitis.
The health department said it's always worth the extra money to get a tattoo from a licensed professional with the right equipment and sterilization procedures.
"Getting a tattoo is like a wound. There's a risk of disease that may be long term or life threatening. It's a serious decision," said Jaci McReynalds, with the Greene County Health Department.
It is illegal in Missouri to give a tattoo without a license, so if several people file complaints with the state, the county prosecutor will pursue the case.
"Beware of deals in parachutes, brain surgery and tattoos," said Miller Cotton, a tattoo parlor owner.
"We just wanted tattoos, and now we're paying for it," Eason said.