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Vanilla Ice, legally named Robert Van Winkle, was arrested in south Florida and charged with burglary and grand theft after police found items allegedly stolen from a foreclosed home at Van Winkle’s residence.

The home of the alleged burglary was adjacent to a house the former rapper was renovating as part of his television show for DIY Network called “The Vanilla Ice Project.”

Lantana police claim that after conducting an investigation into possible squatting, they found that several items including furniture, a pool heater, bicycles and pieces of art were taken from the home of a recently deceased man. When officers spoke to Vanilla Ice at the property, they allege that he told them he had purchased it.

5076391518_9593765c83_zReports indicate that he had no contract or down payment, and was only filming renovations of the home next door.

Police then obtained a warrant to search Ice’s Palm Beach home where they claim they found the missing items. Ice was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail. He was later released after posting $6,000 bail.

Following his release, he told reporters that the entire episode was a “misunderstanding.”

Ice was charged with burglary as well as grand theft.

This is not Ice’s first run-in with the law. The entertainer has been arrested four times in the past for domestic assault, brandishing weapons and disorderly conduct. Additionally, he was forced to pay fines after his pet wallaroo and pet goat escaped from his home and wandered his Port St. Lucie neighborhood for more than a week.

According to Florida state statute 810.02, burglary is defined as:

entering or remaining in a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter or remain.

If Ice is convicted of burglary, he could face up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Grand theft charges are even more complicated than burglary charges. The potential penalties associated with a grand theft conviction can vary. Consequences depend on the total value of the items stolen.

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Kurt Busch is accused of smashing his ex-girlfriend’s head against his motor home wall Sept. 26 at Dover International Speedway, according to the conclusions of a Kent County (Del.) family court commissioner who granted the woman’s request for a protective order last week.

Busch is scheduled to race Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, where he is slated to start 24th in the Daytona 500.

NASCAR has not disciplined Busch at this time. The organization is waiting for the findings and for a possible decision by the Delaware attorney general’s office on whether charges will be filed for the alleged Sept. 26 assault.

“The Court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that, on September 26, 2014, Respondent [Busch] committed an act of domestic violence against Petitioner by manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand on her chin and face and smashing her head into the wall of his motorhome,” commissioner David Jones wrote in his findings and conclusions.

8736203623_6c8f58b75d_zAs part of his decision, Jones requires for Busch “to be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional” and complete any further steps for treatment that person recommends.

Busch apparently told police that his ex entered his motor home uninvited, adding that they had broken up a week earlier, and that he cupped her face with his hands while repeatedly asking her to leave.

Jones released his opinion last week, stating that he believes the ex-girlfriend’s version of the events that night was more credible. He added that Busch’s version of events does not make sense and does not match up with the evidence.

Busch has asked Jones to reconsider the ruling.

Domestic violence refers to any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

Domestic violence cases in Florida are usually very sensitive cases that are highly fueled by emotion. These types of cases usually have increased public and media attention, especially when involving a celebrity. A conviction for domestic violence also carries minimum mandatory sentencing, so these cases need to be treated very carefully by an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Even if you have no previous criminal record, you need to have a defense attorney fighting in your corner.

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A 17-year-old Leesburg teen, who was expelled from Tavares High School for allegedly inappropriately touching female students, was arrested Friday for doing the same thing, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

The teen was charged with two counts of simple battery and trespassing. He remained in the Lake County jail Monday in lieu of $15,000 bail.

According to an arrest affidavit, the teen was a student at Tavares High, but was previously expelled for inappropriately touching female students. He was also trespassed from the facility.

He is accused of returning to the school on Friday at 7:15 a.m. where he allegedly hugged random girls.

“Statements were provided that he was asking the victims for ‘hugs,’ then he would grab their butts, and run his face in their breast area and try to kiss them …,” according to the affidavit.

The teen was arrested at 8:30 a.m.

He is scheduled for a court arraignment on Feb. 25.

Having a criminal conviction at a young age can negatively affect your child’s life for many years to come. Not only could they be facing jail time, but he or she could be denied college acceptances, driving privileges, jobs, student loans and other types of financial aid. A criminal conviction could even lead to your child getting suspended or expelled from school.

Juvenile Court is quite different from the adult legal system, but you need a Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer to help guide you through the system. There are things you need to know, like when your child will be released to you, the potential punishments and how the charge could impact the rest of your child’s life.

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A former law dean was arrested on a charge of prostitution early Sunday after he allegedly responded to an ad on placed by undercover agents, according to an arrest affidavit.

The warrant alleges that the man’s arrest was part of ongoing effort to “combat the demand side of commercial sex trafficking.” The man accused is the former law dean of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law and is the Judge William Hawley Atwell Chair of Constitutional Law at the school.

6757860435_e0d0defc90_zAccording to reports, the arrest warrant alleges that the man agreed to pay an undercover officer $100 in exchange for sex acts. He was among five men arrested in the decoy sting at the Aloft Frisco hotel in the Dallas suburb. The hotel apparently cooperated in the investigation.

The prostitution charge against the man is a Class B misdemeanor. He was released on $500 bond.

SMU did not renew the man’s contract as dean when it expired in May 2013. He remains a professor at the law school.

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Police arrested a 56-year-old Miami flight attendant for American Airlines after his vehicle was parked for several days at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The man’s yellow Ford Crown Victoria had expired Florida plates and a sag in the rear, which police believed were explosives.

However, police did not fight explosives in the man’s car. Instead, they claim they uncovered stolen UNICEF coins.

4689386920_53225ac585_zPolice believe the man stole coins donated by international passengers to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s charity and a longtime partner of American Airlines.

The man is accused of failing to deliver the donations to UNICEF. Police allege the man stored the coins in plastic bags and suitcases in the trunk of his 2006 Crown Vic, which caused it to sag under the weight of 700 pounds in Euro coins and other foreign currency.

The U.S. value of the coins totals about $5,000, according to Port Authority police.

The man apparently admitted to the theft in interviews with detectives. He was arrested on Jan. 31 and booked on felony charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

The man posted $100,000 bail the next day. He is due back in court on March 24.

In the state of Florida, grand theft, also known as grand larceny, is defined as the unlawful taking of any property that amounts to more than $300 in worth. Crimes of grand theft can be charged as first, second or even third degree felonies depending on the severity of the activity.

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Two people were arrested Saturday night after the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office uncovered a dog fighting ring in Merritt Island.

Deputies responded to a  Merritt Island home after the Sheriff’s Office was tipped off by a concerned citizen who heard what they believed was animal cruelty in progress.

Deputies alleged they found several severely malnourished dogs, as well as a fighting ring and visible blood on the fighting structure and the dogs.

Agents from the Sheriff’s Office’s Special Investigations units and Brevard County Animal Services responded to the scene where they collected evidence and safely rescued the dogs.

A 41-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman, both of Merritt Island, were arrested.

13894518956_7139eb370d_zThe man was charged with fighting dogs and was taken to the Brevard County Jail, where he’s being held on no bond. According to court records, the man is currently on federal probation and has a lengthy violent criminal history, including sexual battery, battery and assault on law enforcement officers, weapons, narcotics and resisting arrest charges.

The woman was charged with cruelty to animals. She was taken to the Brevard County Jail, where she’s being held on $500. Records indicate that the woman has a local criminal history, including aggravated child abuse, theft and multiple narcotics charges.

The dogs were seized and taken to the Sheriff’s Office’s Animal Services Center for emergency medical treatment.

In addition to the dogs, deputies claim they found cash and firearms. The investigation is ongoing.

Florida views animal cruelty charges very seriously and aggressively prosecutes these cases. If you have been arrested and charged with animal cruelty, neglect or any form of animal abuse, you are looking at the very real possibility of jail time and significant monetary fines anywhere from $50 all the way up to $10,000.

Animal cruelty charges encompass inhumanely confining an animal, beating an animal, failing to provide water or food, failing to provide adequate shelter as well as fighting an animal. Fighting an animal is classified as a third-degree felony carrying a 5-year jail sentence.

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This Saturday, Tampa Bay will be celebrating the 2014 Gasparilla Pirate Fest. This day-long celebration welcomes the public to partake in a spectacular parade and festival inspired by Jose Gaspar. This annual festival accommodates more than 300,000 people every year, which results in large crowds of rowdy and excited guests.

While a fun time, it is important to remember that as with most things, larger crowds usually means more arrests for various violations. Reports from earlier Gasparilla Parades recount numerous arrests for open container violations, as well as various citations for civil infractions. Arrests for alcohol-related criminal offenses are also very high this weekend, particularly for disorderly conduct, DUI, Boating Under the Influence and underage drinking.

8431098388_181f4bc534_zDuring this Gasparilla weekend, it is very important  to practice safety in order to avoid a potential arrest. It can be quite helpful to prepare your agenda for the day ahead of time and make all necessary arrangements to get home safely at the end of the night. You can protect yourself as well as the safety of others by following the guidelines provided by the City of Tampa.

  1. Plan your day in Advance. Save time by planning where you will park and familiarize yourself will the street closures so that you can map your route there accordingly.
  2. Pick a meeting place for friends and family. By selecting a spot ahead of time, you and the rest of your party can know where to go in the event you get separated.
  3. Know the “Wet Zones.” The parade route does allow participants to drink alcohol openly, but only from select vendors selling along the route. Keep in mind that no coolers, kegs or open containers are allowed elsewhere on the streets. Police are stressing that no glass containers of any kind are permitted.

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A University of Florida women’s basketball player was arrested Friday afternoon after a teammate accused her of stealing her credit card and using it at several stores, a nail salon and a pawn shop.

According to the arrest report, the 21-year-old woman was charged with theft of a credit card and fraudulent use of a credit card. The report identifies the woman as a member of the women’s basketball team.

The victim was listed as the woman’s teammate. The report alleges that the woman took her teammate’s credit card without permission on Jan. 11 from the women’s locker room of the basketball practice facility. According to reports, the locker room is secured by a key code known only to the team, coaches and janitorial staff.

12696032183_0d9622ae98_zThe alleged stolen card was used at Macy’s and a nail salon at The Oaks Mall on Monday, according to police. It was used on Tuesday at some other shops as well as a pawn shop.

On Friday, the woman apparently told police she found the card outside the practice facility and allegedly admitted to using the card at the stores, police said. She told officers she threw the card away after using it.

Credit card fraud often involves identity theft. It can be defined as many things, including:

  • Stealing a credit card and assuming the victim’s identity in order to purchase merchandise or goods
  • Theft of credit card data
  • Using credit card data without permission to make online purchases
  • Opening a new credit card account using someone else’s information
  • Using forged credit cards

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A Lakeland man is facing up to 80 years in prison after pleading guilty to producing and transporting child pornography.

Reports indicate that the 40-year-old man accepted a guilty plea Monday in Tampa federal court. A date for his sentencing has yet to be set.

Prosecutors believe the man produced at least 50 sexually explicit videos of himself having sex with two children who were 2 and 13 months old.

Officials claim the alleged abuse began in 2012 when one child was under 6 months old.

5555771417_79bc61d1e7_zCourt records show the man filmed the acts with his cell phone and shared the video with at least 100 people.

The Department of Homeland Security began looking into the case in 2013.

Child pornography cases are all over the media today. We have all seen or heard of recent cases where individuals are sentenced to lengthy prison terms for possession, distribution and production of child pornography. Facing a federal sex crimes charge in Florida can be extremely frightening.

Due to the social stigma attached to child pornography accusations, our Polk County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand how important it is to swiftly minimize the impact of a federal child pornography investigation or charge. We know that your family life, personal relationships and job are on the line and will fight for your rights throughout the entire process and will work vigorously to defend your rights.

Unfortunately, federal child pornography cases can be complex and difficult to defend. The government will not usually bring charges until they have conducted a lengthy investigation and are confident they have enough criminal evidence to succeed at trial.

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A 25-year-old Pasco County High School instructor has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested for unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

According to reports, the female teacher contacted the student at the school through  Facebook messenger in early April. Deputies allege that she gave the victim her phone number and asked him to call her.

Deputies claim the pair met up at a park in New Port Richey and had sex. According to the arrest report, several more sexual encounters occurred between April and July.

7949717596_50b93b42fb_zDeputies said the teacher was 24-years-old at the time of the incidents and the victim was 17.

The teacher worked as a graduation enhancement instructor helping kids who are at risk of not graduating. She has been with the school district since April 2013.

The school board is expected to vote whether to suspend the woman without pay at its next meeting on January 20th.

The woman has been released from jail on $10,000 bond.

Sex crimes carry very harsh penalties, including mandatory registration as a sex offender, hefty fines, and depending on the specific charge, mandatory minimum prison sentences. It is absolutely necessary that you contact a criminal defense lawyer once you know that the police are investigating you for such a charge.

As a teacher in a public position, being accused of a sex crime can ultimately end your career. It is very important to get help from a Pasco County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible due to the fact that consequences for a conviction of are severe. When facing these accusations, licensed professionals, like teachers, may suffer automatic revocation of their license.

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