The man had identified himself as a City of Ottawa employee, so 101-year-old Ernest Cote buzzed him into his condominium complex. But when the man got to Cote's door, he wasn't about municipal business — he just demanded cash.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, Cote — a World War II vet who landed on a Normandy beach on D-Day with the Canadian army — refused.
So, the man forced his way into Cote's residence, tied him up and left with undisclosed items, Ottawa police said. Cote — who was uninjured in Thursday's incident — was able to free himself. Now, police are on a manhunt.
Ottawa police robbery unit released this image of a home invasion suspect from security video after a 101-year-old veteran Ernest Cote was robbed during a home invasion Thursday morning. (Image source: Ottawa police)
The robbery attracted the attention of Laureen Harper, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. She tweeted that she was “horrified” by Cote's ordeal and traveled with him to France last June for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy.
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino tweeted that he was praying for Cote, whom Fantino called his friend and a Canadian hero.
“This thug should go to jail,” he said.
More from the Citizen:
The suspect is described as a Caucasian man, about 50, with fair complexion, a prominent nose, and short grey hair. He was wearing a driver’s style cap and possibly glasses, and was dressed in black winter jacket, pants, boots, and gloves. The suspect also carried a black shoulder bag.
Police were also examining surveillance video from the condo complex in order to ID the suspect, according to the newspaper.
Here's more about Cote, via the Citizen:
According to a website for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy, Côté was called to the Alberta bar in October 1939 before he left Edmonton to join the Royal 22nd Regiment (the Van Doos) in Quebec City. On June 6, 1944, Côté landed in Normandy where he became the logistics officer for the operation, the website said.
Côté was a colonel when left the Canadian Armed Forces in July 1945 to become second secretary for the Department of External Affairs.
A photo taken in May 1944 shows Canadian World War II soldier Ernest Cote posing at the headquarters of the 3rd Canadian division in Britain, ahead of the Overlord D-Day operations. (Image source: AFP/Getty Images)
The father of four also participated in the first meetings for the United Nations General Assembly in London, New York and Paris, and he helped to draft the charter of the World Health Organization, the website said.
In 1955, Côté became the assistant deputy minister to the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources. In 1968, Côté became the Veterans Affairs deputy minister before he served as the deputy solicitor general of Canada and governor of the University of Ottawa. He retired from public service in 1975.