SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Matthew Collier is a convicted sex offender, recently arrested for the second time by Caddo sheriff’s deputies.
This time, Lt. Greg Winget says, Collier’s offense isn’t a sex crime but that he violated the Louisiana sex offender registration law.
“He violated the statute in that he did not inform us he had a food truck, trailer. He didn’t inform us he was driving, his wife’s car, I believe it was,” Winget said. “Also, he didn’t tell us he had a professional license.”
KSLA Investigates was there, capturing Collier’s arrest on camera, following our own investigation into the 26-year-old Shreveport man.
Collier came to the attention of Chief Investigative Reporter Stacey Cameron after a parent contacted KSLA News 12 expressing concern over the food trailer Geaux Eat and its self-titled chef, who went by the name Matthew Emmanuel.
That parent was concerned that Emmanuel was Matthew Collier, a convicted sex offender.
The parent also worried that Collier owned a food truck called Geaux Eat that was opening up at times near schools and parks, according to posts on social media.
Typing his name into the Caddo sheriff’s sex offender watch, Collier popped up as a registered sex offender living in Caddo Parish whose full name is Matthew Emmanuel Collier.
He was convicted of indecent behavior with a juvenile in 2014 and released from prison in August 2017.
A check of business licenses filed with the City of Shreveport revealed Collier is the principal officer of the limited liability company Geaux Eat, a properly licensed food truck in the city.
But a closer look at the sex offender registry raised two red flags.
Collier’s registration didn’t list a work address or any vehicles, despite his owning a food trailer and food truck business.
So KSLA Investigates called the Sheriff’s Office to see if that broke the law.
Turns out it did, according to Winget.
“We rely on tips a lot. Within probably two or three hours of getting the tip, we were making an arrest.”
Winget says Collier is the first sex offender he’s known to get behind the wheel of a food truck or trailer.
Social media posts indicate he took Geaux Eat all over the ArkLaTex, including trips into Bossier and DeSoto parishes, as well as travels to Texas and Arkansas.
That raises the possibility that he broke more laws because law enforcement in those jurisdictions have no record of Collier registering his business with them.
KSLA Investigates spoke with Collier following his release from Caddo Correctional Center. He admitted to traveling to parts of the ArkLaTex without registering or notifying officials outside Caddo but said he actually skipped the planned trip to Arkansas.
Miller County, Ark., sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mark Lewis said his office is tracking about 75 registered sex offenders.
“We have about 5 percent of that population that we routinely have active criminal charges on. Most of the time, those charges are not for repeat offenses; but they are for failure to register appropriately.”
Lewis also says sex offenders who live outside his jurisdiction but come to Miller County to work must register with his office as a matter of law.
Winget says Caddo has 700 active sex offenders in the parish.
And the problem of failing to register properly could grow if more sex offenders open mobile businesses and fail to follow the law precisely.
Collier, who says he’s innocent of the crime that now labels him a sex offender, also said that violating the sex offender registration law was simply a mistake and that he was not trying to willfully hide his business.
Instead, he said, there are multiple registration laws and they are confusing but he honestly tried his best to comply.
KSLA Investigates has confirmed that Collier, since he got out of jail, took all the steps necessary to update his sex offender registration in Caddo.