A man from California allegedly lived in a secured area in the security zone of O’Hare International Airport in Chicago for 3 months undetected before his arrest Saturday, said state attorneys.
Aditya Singh, 36, from a Los Angeles suburb, was charged with felony criminal trespass in a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanor theft, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Two United Airlines employees ran into Singh and requested his ID on Saturday afternoon. Singh showed them an airport ID badge from an operations manager that had been reported missing on Oct. 26. The employees then called 911 and the police came and arrested Singh, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Hagerty.
After a prosecutor detailed the allegations in bond court on Sunday, Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz asked, “So if I understand you correctly, you’re telling me that an unauthorized, nonemployee individual was allegedly living within a secure part of the O’Hare airport terminal from Oct. 19, 2020, to Jan. 16, 2021, and was not detected? I want to understand you correctly,” per Chicago Tribune.
Prosecutors said Singh arrived at O’Hare on Oct. 19 on a flight from Los Angeles and allegedly has lived in the airport’s security zone undetected ever since.
Hagerty told the judge that Singh claimed to be “scared to go home due to COVID” and that passengers were giving him food.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Singh lives with roommates in Orange County, California, has a clean record, a master’s degree, and is unemployed. Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood said although the incident is abnormal the charge is so far nonviolent. What led Singh to Chicago and if he has any connection to Chicago remains unknown.
Judge Ortiz set the bail to $1,000 and a condition of prohibiting Singh from entering the airport, and set his first court date for Jan. 27.
Airport security breaches happen occasionally. Marilyn Hartman, a 68-year-old Chicago woman, snuck into the O’Hare International Airport in 2018 but failed to board on a flight to Longdon’s Heathrow Airport.
There have also been many airport dwellers in recent past years. Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden lived in Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, for over 30 days. However, Singh’s incident is rather distinct because it involved a security breach.