Shreveport Police Officer Bradley Glass began investigating VIP Taxi Service after Caddo deputies alerted police that the company employed an operator without a license. His investigation led to the discovery the driver was a registered sex offender.
Ontario Samuels was arrested on February 15 by the Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force during a separate investigation. He was convicted of sexual battery in Caldwell Parish in 2012 and failed to register as a sex offender after moving to Bossier City.
“It was discovered the individual was a registered sex offender. And it was then discovered that he applied and was denied by the vehicle for hire office,” said Glass in Monday’s City Council meeting.
Working as a cab driver is against the Justin Bloxom Act and led to another charge against Samuels for prohibition of employment for certain sex offenders. The act was created after a 12-year-old boy was kidnapped and murdered by a cab driver in DeSoto Parish.
In Monday’s meeting, VIP owner Vernon Moore said they found out about Samuels’s status as a sex offender after the fact. Moore told the council he allowed Samuels to drive without a license because, at the time, approvals were backed up due to COVID and he didn’t know the request had been denied.
When Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor stated they are responsible for having him driving a cab for their company Moore argued the penalty shouldn’t put them out of business.
Taylor answered, “Do you know what risk you put to the community by having a rapist drive a taxicab?”
When asked at what point they found out Samuels was a sex offender he told Councilwoman Taylor “In March of this year, like two months ago.”
When NBC 6 called VIP Taxi Services in February following Samuels’ arrest, they were told the company had “no comment” before the employee hung up.
On April 25, a letter was submitted to the city council to revoke the company’s vehicle permit. The company appealed the letter Monday, but the council voted to revoke the license.