- Afraid of a COVID-19 infection, a man lived for three months inside a secure area of Chicago’s O’Hare airport.
- Two United Airlines employees discovered him by accident on Saturday when they asked him for identification.
- The man now faces trespassing and theft charges.
Viktor Navorski spent nine months inside the JFK terminal, living, working, and falling in love while he waited for the civil war in his home country of Krakozhia to be resolved. The US no longer recognized the nation, and he was stuck in limbo in the airport, unable to enter the US or leave the country. But Viktor is an imaginary character played by Tom Hanks in the 2004 comedy The Terminal, and Krakozhia is a fictional country. Back in the real world, a man from California was just arrested after O’Hare airport authorities discovered that he lived in a secure section of the Chicago airport for three months. Aditya Singh, 36, was afraid to catch COVID-19 and that’s why he avoided leaving the airport. He now faces criminal charges for trespassing in a restricted area and misdemeanor theft.
Singh arrived at O’Hare on a flight from Los Angeles on October 19th and lived in the airport’s security zone ever since without being detected, Chicago Tribune reported. Even the judge who presided over a bond hearing on Sunday couldn’t believe the prosecutor’s claims.
“So if I understand you correctly,” Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz said, “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.”
Two United Airlines employees stopped Singh on Saturday afternoon and demanded to see identification. The man lowered his face mask and presented an airport ID badge reported missing on October 26th. The badge belonged to an operations manager.
The man reportedly found the badge in the airport and was “scared to go home due to COVID.” Other passengers were giving him food during the time he spent in the airport.
Singh lives in Los Angeles with roommates and he doesn’t have a criminal record. He has a master’s degree in hospitality and is currently unemployed. As a condition of his bail, Judge Ortiz barred the man from stepping foot in the airport again.
“The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred,” the judge said. “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 “CDA has no higher priority than the safety and security of our airports, which is maintained by a coordinated and multilayered law enforcement network. 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.”