CHICAGO – A man from California, who told police that the coronavirus pandemic made him afraid to fly, was arrested on charges of hiding in a protected area at O’Hara International Airport in Chicago for three months.
Aditi Singh, 36, has been charged with felony criminal misconduct at the airport and theft after being arrested on Saturday. At a court hearing Sunday, a judge ruled that the man from Orange, California, could be released if he paid $ 1,000, but said Singh was banned from stepping on the airport.
Singh has remained in Cook County Jail since Monday morning.
Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood said Singh had no criminal record. She added that it was not clear why Singh, who was unemployed, had come to Chicago or if he had ties to the area.
During the hearing, Assistant Attorney General Kathleen Hagerty said Singh was spotted by two United Airlines employees who asked him for identification, the Chicago Tribune reported. Singh took off his mask and showed a badge that actually belonged to the airport̵
Officers called police, who took Singh into custody. “Singh was afraid to go home because of Kovid,” Hagerty said, telling authorities he had found the badge and that other passengers at the airport had given him food.
Before giving Singh bail, Cook County Judge Susanna Ortiz was apparently worried that someone might stay in a protected area for so long at the airport without anyone noticing.
“The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this happened,” the judge said. “Because it’s in a secure part of the airport with a fake ID, based on the need for airports to be absolutely safe so that people feel safe to travel, I find that these alleged actions make it dangerous to the community.”
Singh is scheduled to return to court on January 27.