A California man who was afraid to fly due to COVID-19 lived inside the secure area of an O’Hare International Airport terminal for nearly three months before being caught on Saturday, prosecutors said. The man, who was found to have an airport worker’s misplaced credentials, survived “largely from other passengers giving him food,” Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Hagerty said.
“You’re telling me that an unauthorized, non-employee individual was allegedly living within the secure part of the O’Hare airport terminal from [October 19, 2020, to January 16, 2021] and was not detected?” Judge Susana Ortiz asked after hearing the allegations.
“That is correct, your honor,” Hagerty confirmed.
Aditya Singh, 36, arrived at O’Hare’s Terminal 2 on a flight from Los Angeles on October 19, Hagerty said. He’s allegedly been living inside the airport’s security zone ever since.
Saturday morning, two United Airlines employees confronted Singh at the airport about his status and asked to see his work ID, Hagerty said. Singh lowered his COVID mask and showed him an airport ID that he wore around his neck.
The identification was reported stolen by an airport operations manager on October 26, according to Hagerty. Police took Singh into custody around 11:10 a.m.
Hagerty said Singh admitted that he found the airport credentials in Terminal 3 and said he was afraid to fly home due to COVID and because other passengers gave him food.
According to his defense attorney, Singh, who has no criminal background, lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Orange, California. He has a master’s degree in hospitality.
Prosecutors charged him with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanor theft.
Ortiz called the allegations against him, “quite shocking.”
“I do find that those alleged actions make him a danger to the community,” Ortiz said before setting bail at $10,000 and ordering him to go onto electronic monitoring if he’s released from jail.
Ortiz denied a defense request to allow Singh to fly home while the case works its way through the court system.