Some folks are afraid to fly. Other folks are afraid of COVID-19. One man, who was afraid of both, hid inside O’Hare International Airport for three months to ostensibly avoid the dual-threat of airplanes and COVID. Now he is being charged with felony criminal trespass and misdemeanor theft. A Chicago judge allowed 36-year-old Aditya Singh released on $1,000 bond but ordered him to stay away from the airport.
Singh’s attorney, a public defender, told the judge that he has no criminal record. At present, it is unclear why Singh came to Chicago or if he has any relatives in the area.
Is Singh a Criminal?
According to airport security, they approached Singh asking him to show identification. Singh flashed the badge of an airport operations manager who reported the identification missing several months earlier. The employees called the police who found the badge. Apparently, other airport guests and passengers had been feeding him.
Stealing identification to access a restricted area is certainly a crime, but Singh’s mental state will play a significant role in this prosecution.
Not all crimes require criminal intent, but most do. At the very least, a criminal defendant must be aware that their actions could harm others and not care. In this case, you have an individual who ostensibly decided that he was going to live at the airport. His stated reason was that he was afraid to fly due to COVID-19. As authorities attempt to unravel the mystery of the man who spent three months living in the restricted areas of the airport, perhaps the greater crime was that he was allowed to do so undetected for as long as he did.
The best-case scenario is that someone who knows Singh, a relative, would come to his defense. This relative would ideally discuss how Singh has grappled with mental health issues all of his life and as a hypochondriac, did not do well when news of a global pandemic began shutting everything down. However, three months ago was November and the shutdown began in March, so that explanation does not make a lot of sense.
Of course, the fear is that Singh is some kind of terrorist who attempted to infiltrate the airport to cause harm to others. But if that is the case, why did he wait three months before hatching his plan, and why is there no evidence of weapons or incendiary devices?
Chances are, if Singh is as baffled as he appears to be on the surface, he will not face any criminal charges for his crime. In fact, his crime may have been useful for the purpose of shoring up security issues at O’Hare.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If your fear of COVID-19 and airplanes has caused you to commit a crime, call Chicago criminal defense attorney, David Freidberg, today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule a free initial consultation and discuss your situation in more detail.