Rapper Vanilla Ice charged in US burglary

MIAMI (AFP) - Rap artist Vanilla Ice, who stormed to worldwide fame over two decades ago with smash-hit Ice, Ice Baby, was arrested and charged with burglary and grand theft, United States (US) police said on Wednesday.

Robert Van Winkle, his real name, allegedly stole several items between December and February from a foreclosed property adjacent to one he was renovating, the Lantana Police Department in Florida said in a statement.

Van Winkle, 47, provided a sworn statement to police and was taken into custody, according to Lantana police, who said the pilfered goods included a pool heater and furniture. He was later released.

Police said they have returned the stolen item to their rightful owner.

Now a reality television star, Van Winkle was renovating the home from which the property was taken for a television programme, The Vanilla Ice Crew, on the DIY network.

DIY, describing the programme on its website, said it features the former rapper who "has made a name for himself in the real estate business", specialising in "converting beat-up properties into big profits". DIY said the premise of the show is that Vanilla Ice uses his real estate and renovation savvy "to make incredible changes to some of Florida's largest mansions". As he was released from jail, Vanilla Ice told reporters that he was innocent of wrongdoing.

"It's a misunderstanding, it was blown out of proportion. It's sad that good news doesn't travel this fast," he said.