New Delhi: A California man has been living in a secured area of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for three months claiming that he was too afraid to fly home to Los Angeles due to COVID-19. However, this weekend he was arrested and charged with criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport, a felony, and theft, a misdemeanor, said a Chicago Tribune report. Also Read - Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu Report Spike in COVID-19 Cases

The 36-year-old man, Aditya Singh, reportedly arrived on a flight from Los Angeles to O’Hare international airport on October 19 and on Saturday (January 16), he was approached by two United Airlines employees who asked to see identification. Singh allegedly showed them an airport ID badge that had been reported missing by its owner, an airport operations manager, on October 26. Also Read - Coronavirus: India In The Endgame of COVID-19 Pandemic, Says Harsh Vardhan

Soon, the United Airlines employees called 911 and police took him into custody within hours. Later on Sunday (January 17), in a bond court, prosecutors said Singh had been living in the airport’s security zone since October 19 without detection. Also Read - China Makes Anal Covid-19 Swabs Compulsory for all International Travellers Arriving in Country: Report

As per a Guardian report, Assistant state attorney Kathleen Hagerty told Cook County judge Susana Ortiz that other passengers had been giving food to Singh, who does not have a criminal background. Hagerty said Singh had found the badge in the airport and was “scared to go home due to Covid”.

Ortiz reportedly told the court: “So if I understand you correctly, You’re telling me that an unauthorised, non-employee individual was allegedly living within a secure part of the O’Hare airport terminal from 10 October, 2020, to 16 January, 2021, and was not detected? I want to understand you correctly.”

“The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred. 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, added Ortiz.

The accused has a master’s degree in hospitality, is unemployed and lives with roommates in Orange, Los Angeles and his bail was set at $1,000.

Issuing an official statement regarding the incident, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) said, “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.”