Ice Ice Baby: Rapper Vanilla Ice Charged With Burglary and Grand Theft

Robert Matthew Van Winkle, known as Vanilla Ice, is facing burglary and grand theft charges in a case that could raise the liability or responsibility of production companies in reality shows. The rapper who gained fame in the 90s was reportedly stealing items form a residence as part of a reality show. That presumably created not just a clear record of the crime but would also lead to questions about the role of the company.

Reports indicate that Vanilla Ice thought the residence was vacant and that the thefts would make for for good television. He allegedly stole furniture, a pool heater, bicycles and other items and later gave a sworn statement (and returned the items). Worse yet, Vanilla Ice has been previously charged with theft.

On The Vanilla Ice Project, the singer fixes up homes to sell for a show on the DIY Network, which premiered in 2010 and is now in its fourth season. That raises the interesting question of the involvement of DIY Network. Journalists are protected in interviewing criminals and filming criminal acts (though sometimes that leads to subpoena issues). Here DIY could be viewed as a co-conspirator and facilitator of the alleged crime. The network makes money from these programs and encouraging a crime would be viewed by some as being part of the crime. On the other hand, they can claim that they are acting in the capacity of an observing media not a participant. Clearly the possible charges could include trespass for the crew.

DIY will only say that it is looking into the matter.

What do you think?

14 thoughts on “Ice Ice Baby: Rapper Vanilla Ice Charged With Burglary and Grand Theft

  1. If I saw someone coming around with a ball cap on, it had better be Ryan Braun with donations in hand. I see hat, beard, sunglasses, or tattoo, you had better be a hologram.

  2. Hey, GW Professor: Isn’t intent to deprive the property owner of possession an element of the crime? Isn’t his conduct (including the filming and sworn statement) plus prompt return of the goods evidence of lack of intent to deprive the owners of their property?

  3. This sounds like the kind of silly article MSM loves – but even on a serious blawg such as this one, a little bit of comic relief is fine. Occasionally.

  4. The liability of the production company would rest on whether they abet his activities and direct them or if they just report them. The cameramen are also along for the ride. And yes there can be bad press.

  5. Presumably they are compensating him, in some way, for his participation in the show and financing his activities–including the illegal activities. I would think this would defeat a claim that they were just reporting on his activities.

  6. Wait, he did this as a stunt on the DIY Vanilla Ice Project, which was supposed to fix homes up to sell? Did he think the network had bought the home? Was he trying to punk the owners? Since he did it as part of a show, it doesn’t sound like he thought he was actually stealing. This sounds like either a foolish mistake or a really foolish criminal.

  7. “a case that could raise the liability or responsibility of production companies in reality shows.”

    No more reality shows. Problem solved.

  8. I can’t wait to see how this punk white boy will fare in prison. He is going to get the opportunity to prove himself with the pros now.

  9. Audio tape caught him in the 90’s stealing Queens “Under Pressure” rhythm and he made money off of that, so catching him with video should equal even a bigger payout.

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