Undercover at Colur Tyme Tattoo Parlor

By: Shalah Sasse Email
By: Shalah Sasse Email

News 12 at 11, November 14, 2007

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. --- Details on the undercover location used in Operation Augusta Ink, a tattoo parlor at 2745 Tobacco Road. That's near Windsor Spring Road in Hephzibah. News 12 got a close look at the Colur Tyme Tattoo Parlor, and found out what investigators did to bring in business, and bust the gangs.

When you walk inside Colur Tyme Tattoo Parlor, the first thing you'll notice is a splash of color on the walls. Investigators put these walls up as a blank canvas, and put a bowl of Sharpies out, and told customers to tag the wall.

"We noticed very quickly that we would have them put their gang affiliations, who they were, who they represented on the wall and that was a valuable source of intelligence for us," Lt. Scott Peebles said.

This helped investigators identify people as being part of a gang. The success of the operation surprised investigators.

"When we started this we didn't know. We kind of put it out to see what kind of response we were going to get but we didn't know if it was going to be a complete failure, and it took off so fast that we could not keep up with it," Lt. Peebles said.

But they did keep up with it. This tattoo parlor played a major role in Richmond County's largest undercover operation ever. Lt. Scott Peebles said if a customer came in to Colur Tyme whether a gang member or just there for a tattoo, they would bring people with them, and they would sit here, in the mall area.

"Often times they would use drugs and talk about the criminal activity they've been involved in, all of which would be recorded both visually and audibly for our records later," Lt. Peebles said.

Recorded like we were here. Through a hidden camera inside the tattoo parlor. Just one more way to ID the suspects. The tattoo proved to be the perfect cover. Lt. Peebles said its a popular thing for gang members to mark themselves for life, to show allegiance.

"That's how the idea for us came about was to have a tattoo parlor. We knew that gang members would come to us wanting tattoos and that we could get intel through that medium," Lt. Peebles said.

Investigators went to great lengths to make this tattoo parlor look genuine. The store is covered in drug paraphernalia.

"We put that out to give the shop, basically street credibility, hoping that when people would see things like that they would say there's obviously no way that this is anyway affiliated with law enforcement because there's no way that they would do something like that," Lt. Peebles said.

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  • by anon Location: anon on Mar 26, 2009 at 12:48 PM
    so are you saying that headshops/tattoo parlors are a haven for gangstaz? that that's the only place they're known to do business at? i highly doubt that. props to cops for the bust, but i'm a person who is a tattoo apprentice, an artist in some mediums. i as an artist, not just tattoo's but other mediums am kinda insulted that the cops set this thing up to bust the gangs. while it seemed like a good idea, i'm kinda insulted as an artist. i would think some other artists would be insulted as well. i agree w/ the person below who wrote that he is a tattoo artist and has his own shop and does not condone these illegal things in his shop. all in all, i'm saying you guys did do a good job, but it's still kinda insulting to us artists out there. what's next? you stage a rave? let me let you in on something, drugs are everywhere. not just raves, headshops, etc, everywhere, even online. i think you guys need to do your homework on the next one.
  • by Anony Location: Ks on Nov 28, 2007 at 06:01 PM
    Would it be legal to set up a fake "heavy metal " show because a percentage of anyone listining to "loud" music might be affiliated with drugs? This is a gross invasion of civil liberties and all you that stereotype people who have tattoos don't care because its not you being descriminated against. I have most of my body covered in tattoo's and have never been arrested and the extent of my legal record consists of a couple parking tickets which were paid within a week. Its no different in concept from african americans having to use different toilets. Its the land of the free but if you like this or that (even if totally legal) we will set up a sting and arrest you without proof of wrongdoing. What happened to our freedoms people?? I hope someone who was charged gets a great lawyer and makes a lot of money off of the cities " ends justifies the means" mentality. Obviously, in agusta, going into a tattoo shop is a crime and a freedom not allowed in the bill of rights. zeek heil agustaPd
  • by Anonymous Location: AUGUSTA, GEORGIA on Nov 25, 2007 at 01:49 PM
  • by You wish you new me Location: on your ass on Nov 16, 2007 at 03:55 PM
    Yes this was some go police work buy do it in a better manner, not trapping people This is some bull**** it is called intrapment and my brother timothy chalker is not in to such criminal bullshit he has 5 kids and has never been in any trouble " what kind of bull**** is that bring a gun and get a free tatttoo that is like telling someone to go steel it you don't believe this then my lawyer will how about that and 3 charges on one gun what the wrong with that picture richmond county suck Thank You but I promise you will beat this sorry system and sue yall's sorry *** and you won't enjoy it
  • by Curious Location: aiken on Nov 16, 2007 at 04:43 AM
    I was just wondering...with all of the guns and weapons found, you're telling me there was absolutely no money collected? Hmmmm????
  • by Dell Location: 3005 Plumbridge ct. Hephzibah on Nov 15, 2007 at 02:37 PM
    I was wondering, with the number of guns collected, were the police able to locate the sources of these guns during their investigations? and if so were any arrests made i.e. people bringing these guns in and selling them to these gangs.
  • by Sue Location: Augusta on Nov 15, 2007 at 12:56 PM
    This is wonderful! Keep up the good work!
  • by Earl Location: Augusta on Nov 15, 2007 at 11:52 AM
    All this shows is the educational level of those caught.
  • by kim Location: Augusta on Nov 15, 2007 at 08:54 AM
    I just want to send a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to Ronney Strength,ATF and All that was involed in this operation.Gangs have been a problem in this area for a very long time.Although I do feel way too much information has been given out.The public does not need to know everything.Somethings should remain quiet until all is done and overwith.These type of people in the gangs are very dangerous and I really hope and pray for the ones involed in this operation for their saftey and the saftey of their families.Another thing Our officers need a raise.They are dealing with a lot.Thank you again for the fine job that you do.
  • by Lisa Location: Augusta on Nov 15, 2007 at 05:26 AM
    I laud the efforts and results of the ATF and Augusta law enforcement. I believe the operation was brilliant. However, my husband owns an "authentic" tattoo shop here in Augusta and we do not condone drug use nor is any person suspected of drug or alcohol use allowed on the premises. We have worked diligently to provide a safe environment for our clientele. I understand the fervor in reporting a great story but please don't spread ignorance.
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