Man Arrested After Living Inside Chicago Airport for 3 Months, Allegedly Afraid to Fly Due to COVID-19
A California man who was discovered over the weekend at Chicago O'Hare International Airport had allegedly been living there for three months.
Aditya Singh, 36, was arrested on Saturday around 11:20 a.m., Chicago police tell PEOPLE. He was charged with impersonation in a restricted area of the airport, and theft of less than $500, police say.
State prosecutors say that Singh was asked by two United Airlines employees to show identification on Saturday. He showed them a badge that turned out to have been reported missing by an operations manager on October 26, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The two employees called 911, and Singh was arrested in Terminal 2.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Hagerty said that Singh claimed he found the badge in the airport and was "scared to go home due to COVID." Singh reportedly arrived at the airport on a flight from Los Angeles on October 19, 2020.
The Cook County State's Attorney's office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
During his bond hearing on Sunday, Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz banned Singh from stepping foot in Chicago O'Hare again. His bond was set at $1,000.
"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," Ortiz said at the hearing, per the Chicago Tribune.
Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood said that Singh has a master's degree in hospitality, and lives with roommates in Orange, California. She said he has no criminal background, and while the situation is strange, reportedly pointed out that he committed no violent offenses, the Chicago Tribune reported.
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Smallwood did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Ortiz, however, found that Singh's alleged actions "do make him a danger to the community," and called the situation "shocking."
"The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred," Ortiz 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 to PEOPLE that Singh "did not pose a security risk" and that the incident is still under investigation.
"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 statement 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 traveling public."
"We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners on a thorough investigation of this matter."