Indian American man hid at Chicago airport for three months

Aditya Singh
Aditya Singh

LA resident Aditya Singh claims he was too afraid to fly due to Covid-19.

Too afraid to fly due to Covid-19 pandemic, an Indian American man hid out for three months in a secured area of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport until his weekend arrest.

Aditya Singh, 36, a California resident, has been charged with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanor theft, Chicago Tribune reported citing prosecutors.

Singh arrived at O’Hare on a flight from Los Angeles on October 19 and allegedly has lived in the airport’s security zone ever since, without detection, prosecutors told a bond court Sunday.

Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz reacted incredulously Sunday after a prosecutor detailed the allegations, according to the Tribune.

“So if I understand you correctly,” Ortiz was quoted as saying, “you’re telling me that an unauthorized, 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.”

Early Saturday afternoon, two United Airlines employees approached Singh and asked to see his identification. Singh lowered his face mask and showed them an airport ID badge that he was wearing around his neck, the Tribune said citing Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Hagerty.

The badge actually belonged to an operations manager who had reported it missing Oct. 26. The employees called 911. Police took Singh into custody about 11:10 a.m. Saturday in Terminal 2 near Gate F12.

Hagerty 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.

Singh lives with roommates in Orange, California, southeast of Los Angeles, and does not have a criminal background, according to Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood.

She said he has a master’s degree in hospitality and is unemployed. Smallwood acknowledged the circumstances were unusual but noted the allegations were nonviolent. It was unclear what brought Singh to Chicago and if he has any ties to the area.

As a condition of bail, Ortiz barred Singh from stepping foot in the airport again if he is able to post the $1,000 he needs for his release. He is due back in court Jan. 27.

“The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred,” the judge said as cited by the Tribune.

“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.”

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