A man has been arrested after it was discovered he had been living in a US airport for three months.
Aditya Singh, a 36-year-old from California, was arrested when he was found hiding in a secured area at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, according to ABC News.
He was spotted by two United Airlines workers who asked to see his identification. The workers alleged he lowered his mask and showed a badge that belonged to an airport operations manager who had reported it missing, prosecutor Kathleen Hagerty said.
Police were called and Singh was taken into custody.
Hagerty said Singh was “scared to go home due to COVID” and that he had found the badge and had been surviving off food given to him by passengers.
His public defender, Courtney Smallwood, said it was unclear why Singh was visiting Chicago, and that he was unemployed and had no criminal record.
Singh is being charged with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanour theft.
Cook County judge Susana Oritz said it was worrying that he was able to remain in a secured area for so long unnoticed.
“The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred,” she said, as reported by ABC News.
“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) said in a statement that the man did not pose a security risk.
“CDA has no higher priority than the safety and security of our airports, which is maintained by a coordinated and multilayered law enforcement network,” the CDA said.
“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 travelling public. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners on a thorough investigation of this matter.”
Singh remains in the Cook County jail, with bail set at $1,000, and he is barred from setting foot in the airport.
[This article has been edited to include a statement from the Chicago Department of Aviation]
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