GASTONIA, N.C (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Gastonia zoning officers inspected a tattoo shop after FOX 46 exposed a secret and possibly illegal gambling operation hidden inside.
"Zoning officers went....yesterday and were admitted by the tenant," said Gastonia city spokeswoman Donna Lahser. "No electronic gaming machines were there."
Officials couldn't find the four video poker machines, which were first uncovered by a FOX 46 producer wearing a hidden camera three weeks ago. The disappearance of the machines suggests the secret gambling den was dismantled before our story aired.
"If you don't do things right you have to suffer the consequences," said Amber, a Gastonia resident who didn't want to give her last name.
Amber wanted to get a tattoo at Ink Link on East Franklin Boulevard. Now, she is staying away.
"I'm suspect to think if it's illegal gambling going on there might be other activities going on," she said. "And it could possibly not be safe."
FOX 46 went back to Ink Link. One woman started recording us on her phone. Another waved and, even more bizarre, started dancing when she saw our camera.
It was a different response from the last time we were here when FOX 46 investigative reporter Matt Grant was met with silence.
"Are you running an illegal gambling operation?," asked Grant, as two employees turned their back. A third ducked into a side room and closed the door.
"We're just trying to get answers," said Grant.
FOX 46 reached out to the mayor's office, District Attorney Locke Belle and Gastonia police for comment on our findings but did not hear back.