Chicago authorities discover man secretly living in airport for three months
Over the weekend, authorities in Chicago reportedly discovered that a man had been living in the O'Hare International Airport for three months.
According to the BBC, when COVID-related concerns made 36-year-old Aditya Singh too anxious to board a flight, he decided that his best bet was to begin secretly living in Chicago's international airport for three months.
Though Singh's situation somewhat resembles the plot of a 2004 feel-good Steven Spielberg film called "The Terminal," the conclusion to this episode in Singh's life didn't end on the same romantic note as Spielberg's film. Instead, it concluded with Singh in handcuffs after airline staff asked him to produce his identification and he pointed to a badge that had allegedly belonged to an operations manager who'd reported it missing in October.
Police Singh arrived on a flight from Los Angeles to O'Hare International Airport on Oct. 19 and after reportedly finding the staff badge in the airport decided to use it to allay his fears. Singh's attorney, Assistant State Attorney Kathleen Hagerty, explained that he was too "scared to go home due to COVID."
The man-in-transit managed to live on handouts from other passengers for the three months that he made the airport his home.
The BBC notes that Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz expressed surprise at the circumstances of the case.
"So if I understand you correctly, you're telling me that an unauthorized, non-employee individual was allegedly living within a secure part of the O'Hare airport terminal from October 19, 2020 to January 16, 2021, and was not detected? I want to understand you correctly," she said to the lawyer who outlined the allegations on Sunday.
Singh, who lives in a suburb of Los Angeles and does not have a criminal background, was charged with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanour theft. He has been barred from entering the airport if he is able to post the $1,000 for bail.
"The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred," Judge Ortiz stated.
"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."
The Chicago Department of Aviation, which oversees the city's airports, said that the incident remains under investigation.
It added in a statement that Singh "did not pose a security risk to the airport or to the travelling public."
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