Crime Blotter: 'Vaseline Vandal' Pleads Guilty

ByABC News
December 16, 2004, 8:08 AM

Dec. 10, 2004 -- -- A 'Vaseline Vandal' pleads guilty; an alleged arsonist tries to make a getaway on a lawnmower; and one man allegedly chooses the wrong place to plant his pot. There's no escaping this week's edition of "The Crime Blotter."

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- The mystery over why a Virginia man smeared Vaseline all over his motel room may never be solved.

Robert Chamberlain, who authorities dubbed the "Vaseline Vandal," pleaded guilty on Dec. 6 to misdemeanor criminal mischief for a greasy mess he left at a Motel 6 near Binghamton last May. Police said Chamberlain used 14 jars of Vaseline to coat his room. The motel manager said every inch of the furniture, carpeting and appliances was covered in Vaseline and that it took almost a month to clean the room.

Chamberlain has never explained his actions. However, he will have to pay approximately $3,900 in restitution to the motel and was sentenced to three years probation.

DOVER, N.H. -- A New Hampshire man didn't choose the quickest getaway vehicle after allegedly trying to firebomb his ex-girlfriend's apartment.

On Dec. 4, Dover police said Steven Coleman tried to escape on a lawnmower after he allegedly threw two Molotov cocktails at his ex-girlfriend's apartment building. Coleman, 37, was arrested after a brief, slow-speed chase.

Coleman appeared calm during the chase, prosecutors wrote in an affidavit. At one point, Coleman turned around and looked directly at the police cruiser while continuing to smoke a cigarette, according to the affidavit.

Police said the Molotov cocktails were two glass Budweiser bottles filled with gasoline and plugged with rags. They did not burst into flames, but one of them shattered, sending gas fumes into nearby apartments. Two residents were treated for breathing difficulties.

Coleman was charged with criminal trespass, attempted arson and resisting arrest. He could face up to 31 years in jail if convicted of all the charges.