Man Lives In Airport For Three Months Because He’s Too Afraid To Fly During COVID
A 36-year-old California man has been caught after spending three months living in a secure section of Chicago’s international airport due to fears of catching coronavirus.
Aditya Singh arrived at O’Hare International Airport from Los Angeles on October 19, but with coronavirus cases continually rising in the US, he found himself too afraid to catch another flight out.
After coming across an employee’s credentials in Terminal 3, he resigned himself to staying in the airport, where he allegedly continued to live in the security zone until Saturday, January 16.
He is said to have survived ‘largely from other passengers giving him food’ until this weekend, when he was approached by two United Airlines employees who asked to see identification. Singh lowered his protective face covering and showed his stolen airport ID, which had been reported missing by an airport operations manager on October 26.
Singh was arrested and charged with criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport – a felony – and theft, a misdemeanour.
When he appeared in court, Assistant State Attorney Kathleen Hagerty told Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz that Singh was ‘scared to go home due to COVID’.
Upon hearing the allegations against Sing, 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 10 October, 2020, to 16 January, 2021, and was not detected? I want to understand you correctly.
Singh, who has a Master’s degree in Hospitality, is unemployed and lives with roommates in Orange, Los Angeles. Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood said that he does not have a criminal background, The Chicago Tribune reports.
Ortiz described the facts and circumstances as ‘quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred’.
The judge continued:
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.
The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) stressed that the safety and security of its airports is its highest priority, stating that it is maintained by ‘a coordinated and multilayered law enforcement network’.
In a statement, the CDA added:
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. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners on a thorough investigation of this matter.
Ortiz set Singh’s bail at $10,000 and ordered him to go onto electronic monitoring if he is released from jail. The defence requested that Singh be allowed to fly home as his case works its way through the court system, but he is barred from entering the airport.
Singh is due back in court on January 27.
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