Man Lived At O’Hare Airport for 12 Weeks, Too Scared to Fly Because of COVID

Man Lived At O'Hare Airport for 12 Weeks, Too Scared to Fly Because of COVID aditya singh mug shot This Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, booking photo provided by the Cook County Sheriff's Office shows Aditya Singh. (Cook County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Monday, 18 January 2021 01:10 PM

A California man reportedly camped out at Chicago's O'Hare International airport for three months, too afraid to fly because of COVID-19.

Aditya Singh, 36, was finally arrested by police on Saturday and charged with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanor theft, the Chicago Tribune reported.

In bond court Sunday, prosecutors said Singh arrived at O’Hare on a flight from Los Angeles Oct. 19 and has lived in the airport’s security zone ever since, the Tribune reported.

Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz was stunned.

“So if I understand you correctly, you’re telling me that an unauthorized, nonemployee 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,” she asked, the Tribune reported.

The jig was up for Singh on Saturday when two United Airlines employees asked to see his ID, Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Hagerty. He showed them an airport ID badge he was wearing around his neck that belonged to an operations manager who'd reported it missing Oct. 26.

Hagerty said Singh apparently 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.

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

“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.”

Singh lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Orange County with roommates and doesn’t have a criminal background, according to Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood, the Tribune reported. She said he has a master’s degree in hospitality and is unemployed.

Bail was set at $1,000 and he’s due back in court Jan. 27, the news outlet reported.