You may know him as Vanilla Ice—the rapper who masterminded the ‘90s hip hop single “Ice Ice Baby.” You may also recognize Vanilla Ice from his most recent TV endeavor, The Vanilla Ice Project on DIY Network, where he hosts a reality show on succeeding in real estate.
But these last few months, the rapper born as Robert Mathew Van Winkle has been making headlines for something entirely unrelated to his musical, real estate, or acting accomplishments—burglary. The Texas native has been accused of stealing a hodgepodge of belongings from a vacant house, including furniture, artwork, and bicycles.
The rapper told police officers that he had found the items on the sidewalk, assuming they were trash. If Van Winkle is able to prove that he indeed did take the items from the street, he may be able to have his burglary charges reduced or dropped. Burglary is defined as the illegal entrance of a structure or locked container with the intent to commit a crime. Since picking items off the curb does not involve entering a structure or enclosed container, these actions alone would probably not be sufficient to land Ice a burglary conviction.
But what does constitute a burglary in Colorado? You may be surprised to learn that you can be charged with burglary for a wide variety of different actions. All you have to do is enter a structure without permission and with the intent to commit a crime. Some of the most surprising ways you could be charged for burglary in Colorado include:
Breaking into a vending machine. Breaking into any kind of locked container with the intent to commit a crime could qualify as burglary. If you break into a vending machine with the intent to unlawfully take money or goods, you could be charged with third degree burglary in Colorado.
Breaking into a camping trailer. A person commits burglary for illegally entering any kind of structure that can shelter humans, animals, or property. Under this definition, campers, trailers, and traditional housing are all structures that may be the subject of burglary.
Breaking into a garage or tool shed. Since garages and tool sheds have the capacity to shelter property, you may be charged with burglary for illegally entering them with the intent to commit a crime.
Breaking into a stable. Similarly, as stables are designed to shelter animals, a person who enters a stable without permission with criminal intentions may be charged with burglary.
Different Criminal Intentions in Burglary Cases
While theft may be the most common criminal intention in burglary crimes, it certainly isn’t the only one. You could find yourself charged with burglary for entering a structure without permission with the intent to commit any one of numerous illegal acts, such as assault or a sex crime. The severity of the crime may increase the severity of the charge, and burglaries of residences or those involving controlled substances are typically penalized the hardest.
While Colorado courts take burglary cases very seriously, there are a variety of appropriate and powerful defenses to these types of charges. If you are facing burglary charges, consult with a Denver criminal defense attorney with experience defending burglary and property crimes. Your attorney can examine the unique circumstances of your case before helping you develop a solid strategy for defense. With the help of a lawyer, you are in a better position to have your burglary charges reduced or dropped entirely.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.