House entry was mistake, drunken man says

LINCOLN PARK — Police still are investigating an incident in the 1000 block of Leblanc early last Sunday that startled a family of four.
A resident of the house was awakened about 5 a.m. by a 33-year-old Lincoln Park man flicking a lighter in his bedroom and shortly afterward heard someone downstairs. He went to investigate and noticed a man hiding under the basement staircase behind a rack of clothes. He told the man to get out, and the man responded that he had just walked his daughter home.
The intruder then left and got into a dark-colored pickup truck and headed east on Leblanc. The resident checked the bedrooms of his daughters, ages 6 and 10, and saw they were still sleeping. A screen in the southwest bedroom window had been forced open, but police said apparently no entry was gained through it.
The resident said he or his wife may have left the side door open when they returned home about 1 a.m.
Shortly after the resident called police, officers spotted a blue Ford pickup being driven south on Ferris by a man matching the description given by the resident.
They followed as the driver pulled up to house in the 900 block of Leblanc, walked toward the house, removed an orange sweatshirt and placed it on the ground before turning around and walking toward the officers. They then arrested him for breaking and entering.
Upon arrival at the police station, they delayed questioning him because he smelled of alcohol. The next morning he told them he had been drinking shots with a friend for several hours and then left for what he thought was his house.
When he got to the bedroom, he told them, he saw two people in what he thought was his bed and flicked the lighter to see who else was there. When he realized he was in the wrong house, he said, he became confused because of the drinking and tried to hide instead of leaving.
He told police he was “extremely embarrassed” and “ashamed” for scaring the family, adding that he was lucky the owner didn’t kill him. He also said he would never drink again.
Police released him without charge pending further investigation.
The wife of the 1000 block resident said she recognized the man from the neighborhood but had never spoken to him, and that he did not have permission to enter her family’s house.