Indian-American Held for Living in Chicago Airport for 3 Months
Aditya Singh hid inside Chicago’s O’Hare airport from 19 October 2020 to 16 January 2021, out of fear of COVID-19.
Aditya Singh, hailing from California, has been charged with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanour theft.
Police claim that Singh hid for three months in a secured area of O’Hare International Airport until, too afraid to fly due to the threat of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
He was arrested on Saturday, 16 January.
Prosecutors said Singh arrived at O’Hare on a flight from Los Angeles on 19 October, 2020 and allegedly has lived in the airport’s security zone ever since without detection.
Early Saturday afternoon, two employees of United Airlines approached Singh and asked to see his identification. Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Hagerty said Singh lowered his face mask and showed them an airport ID badge that he was wearing around his neck.
The badge belonged to an operations manager who had reported it missing 26 October.
She said Singh reportedly found the badge in the airport and was “scared to go home due to COVID.” She told the judge other passengers were giving him food.
Shocked at the details of the incident, Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz said, “You’re telling me that an unauthorised, non-employee 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.”
“The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred,” the judge said. “Being in a secured part of the airport under a fake ID badge allegedly, based upon the need for airports to be absolutely secure so that people feel safe to travel, I do find those alleged actions do make him a danger to the community.”
As a condition of bail, Ortiz has barred Singh from stepping foot in the airport again if he is able to post the $1,000 he needs for his release.
Singh lives with roommates in Orange, southeast of Los Angeles, and does not have a criminal background, according to reports. He holds a master’s degree in hospitality and is currently unemployed.
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