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No charges in Trudeau home incident; police say it was a mistake

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OTTAWA - The mystery surrounding a late-night break-in at Justin Trudeau's house was officially solved on Tuesday when police said the culprit was a drunk 19-year-old who wandered into the wrong house in Ottawa's exclusive Rockcliffe Park neighbourhood.

The remorseful man will not be charged, police told a news conference, adding investigators are satisfied he entered the Liberal leader's home believing he had arrived at a friend's house.

"He had no idea who the residents were," said Staff Sgt. Kal Ghadban. "This was not a targeted home. He didn't realize it and we believe he did not know whose house it was until Friday."

Ghadban played down the fact that the young man left a note near a collection of knives, saying that — for a fleeting moment — the unwitting break-in artist considered stealing the cutlery along with an electronic device that police refused to identify.

"There was a momentary thought process that before he left he would actually take some items with him, which was very short-lived," said Ghadban. "He immediately decided against that."

Police said nothing was removed from the house.

As for the note and its suggestion that the family should lock their doors at night, police conceded it seemed threatening. But in fact, Ghadban added, it was an act of remorse from the man over the fact that he'd entered the house.

Trudeau was out of town when the incident happened, but his wife and children were asleep upstairs. Police said an individual came forward on Friday after they released video footage of a suspect. The 19-year-old has been cautioned and the case is now closed.

Police said the intruder, who has not been identified, wrote to the Trudeau family to apologize, although the family had not received his note as of late Tuesday.

"During the interview (on Friday) he did ask for an opportunity to write a letter of apology," said Ghadban.

"I don't know whether that has made its way from the investigators to the residents or not ... but he did write an apology letter."

The incident raised questions about whether Trudeau and his family need a security detail, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper has.

The RCMP have not said whether they are still looking into the possibility of providing close protection to the Liberal leader.

It appears that the Liberals are satisfied with the closure of the police investigation.

"This a police matter and they have made the determination to not press charges," said Trudeau spokeswoman Kate Purchase. "We fully respect the Ottawa Police Services’ responsibility to make this determination."

History

Updated on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM CDT: adds photo

2:20 PM: Adds video

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