CHICAGO (WGN) — A man who was living inside Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport managed to escape detection for three months, according to prosecutors.
Aditya Singh, 36, is charged with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanor theft. Police said Singh claimed he was too afraid to fly home to California because of COVID-19.
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According to the Chicago Tribune, Singh arrived at O’Hare from Los Angeles on Oct. 19 and lived in the airport’s security zone since then.
On Sunday, Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz reacted incredulously after a prosecutor detailed the allegations.
“So if I understand you correctly,” Ortiz said, “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.”
Prosecutors say two United Airlines employees asked him for credentials Saturday. He allegedly showed a badge that an operations manager had reported missing in October.
The employees called 911, and Singh was taken into custody around 11:10 a.m. Saturday in Terminal 2.
He is due back in court Jan. 27.
The Chicago Department of Aviation told WGN that the agency has “no higher priority than the safety and security of our airports, which is maintained by a coordinated and multilayered law enforcement network.”
“While this incident remains under investigation, we have been able to determine that this gentleman did not pose a security risk to the airport or to the traveling public,” a spokesperson said. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners on a thorough investigation of this matter.”