Florida police say they detained 47-year-old rapper Vanilla Ice on burglary charges after he took several items from a home near a residence he is renovating. Vanilla Ice, whose legal name is Robert Van Winkle, says that the situation is a misunderstanding that will be cleared up. He is the host of a show on the DIY network in which he renovates houses.
The home from which Van Winkle took several items including a pool heater, a bicycle and furniture is in foreclosure. Van Winkle says the items were sitting at the curb, and he thought they had been left out as trash. The home’s real estate broker says that while they were not expensive items, he did have to go through the hassle of securing the home again.
Authorities say the thefts occurred between December 2014 and February 2015. Van Winkle was released on a $6,000 bail within just a few hours of initially being taken into custody. He is facing charges of grand theft and burglary.
Those who are facing charges like these might wish to consult an attorney as part of their defense strategy. If the charges seem disproportionate to the actions, it may be difficult to convince a jury that the individual should be found guilty. In such a case, an attorney might work to get the charges dismissed, or if that is not successful, the defendant may wish to plead innocent at the trial and present evidence to support that plea. Another option might be a plea deal in which the individual agrees to plead guilty to fewer or lesser charges. This might mean reducing felonies to misdemeanors or receiving much lighter sentencing.
Source: NBC6 South Florida, “Robert Van Winkle, AKA Vanilla Ice, released after being charged for residential burglary: Police”, Brian Hamacher and Laura Rodriguez, Feb. 20, 2015