For three months, a California man who landed in a Chicago airport went unnoticed, roaming the halls and living in the shadows of the terminals because he was too afraid of the coronavirus, according to reports. Aditya Singh, 36, had traveled from Los Angeles to O'Hare International Airport, in Chicago, considered one of the country's largest airports.
Singh was eventually identified after two United Airlines employees approached him, requesting identification, according to a report. Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Hagerty said Singh showed the employees the badge and said he was too "scared to go home due to COVID."
The ID he flashed belonged to an airport operations manager, which was reported missing in October. The employees quickly called the police, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Prosecutors say Singh stayed at the airport, wandering around, from Oct. 19, 2020, until Jan. 16, 2021.
He was arrested Saturday and charged with impersonation in a restricted area of the airport and theft of less than $500, a Chicago police public information officer confirmed to Inside Edition Digital.
The next day, Singh appeared in court and bond was set at $10,000. He was still behind bars at the Cook County jail on Tuesday.
Assistant public defender Courtney Smallwood argued that although the circumstances were out of the ordinary, the allegations against Singh were nonviolent. It was unclear why Singh was in Chicago in the first place.
“The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred,” the judge said, according to the Tribune. “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.”
"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 Chicago Department of Aviation said in a statement. "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.”
Singh has no previous criminal history and lives in Orange, California. He has a master's degree in hospitality and is unemployed, the public defender said, according to the Tribune.
On condition of his bail, if he is able to post $1,000, Singh is prohibited from stepping foot in the airport. He will return to court Jan. 27.