Vanilla Ice accepts plea deal his lawyer calls "the best possible solution" to burglary "misunderstanding"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/03/2015
Vanilla Ice, formally known as Robert Van Winkle, has reached a plea deal stemming from his February arrest for alleged burglary and grand theft.
The Vanilla Ice Project star, who allegedly stole multiple items from a Florida home he believed to be abandoned, agreed to a plea deal Thursday in West Palm Beach that will require him to pay the late homeowner's estate between $1,000 and $1,300 as well as perform 100 hours of community service for Habitat for Humanity, Peoplereported.
Vanilla Ice, 47, will therefore serve no time behind bars. While the burglary charge has already been dropped, his grand-theft charges will also be erased if he successfully follows through with what has been asked of him.
According to a police report obtained by People, Vanilla Ice allegedly took furniture, art work, a pool heater, two bikes and other items from the home in December of last year. The "Ice Ice Baby" rapper had insisted he thought the items were kicked to the curb and considered trash.
"This was a house owned by an estate. There's a dispute where the furniture was. Police say it was in the property -- the garage, the backyard... We would have disputed that if we went to trial, because it was on the curb. Rob didn't have any criminal intent at all; this was a misunderstanding and the prosecutor knew that," Vanilla Ice's lawyer Bradford Cohen told People in a statement.
"We came up with a happy medium. We avoided the necessity of going to trial and letting a jury decide. It saved the state from having to put together a case that they might lose, and saved us from having to put together a defense. I was really impressed with the prosecutors in this case. A lot of times, they take the opportunity for a high-profile case to get on TV."
Cohen additionally called the case's proceedings "refreshing" because they had been handled so professionally."
Vanilla Ice apparently believes the terms of his plea deal are not punishments in the slightest. He reportedly said he had been planning to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity anyway so his community service is like asking "the Pope to pray."
Cohen explained that his client already does "40 to 60 hours" of charity work a month and has been actively involved with Habitat for Humanity for quite some time.
"This was the best possible solution to the entire misunderstanding, and now Rob can put this behind him," Cohen said.