Indian American man who lived in O’Hare for 3 months acquitted of trespassing


During the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in the US, an Indian American man was found hiding and living inside Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for three months, due to fear of getting infected by the virus.

Aditya Singh, who was supposed to fly back to India, refused to take his flight or move back to the city, decided to stay in a secured terminal at O’Hare.

Now, a Cook County Judge, Adrienne Davis acquitted Singh on the charge this week without his attorney having to mount a defense. .

Singh, 37, is expected back in court Friday on an escape charge for allegedly violating the terms of his electronic monitoring while out on bond for the trespassing charge.

Davis’ rationale for acquitting Singh weren’t immediately clear. But after his 16 January arrest, the Transportation Security Administration, which regulates security at the airport for the Chicago Department of Aviation, determined that Singh hadn’t violated airport regulations.

“Mr. Singh did not breach or improperly enter secured areas — he arrived there like tens of thousands of arriving passengers do every day, by stepping off a plane,” Christine Carrino, an aviation department spokeswoman, said in a statement to the newspaper earlier this year.

“While we won’t speculate on Mr. Singh’s motivations, he decided to remain in the secure area and made every effort to blend in as a passenger and airline employee until his arrest.”

Singh, who came to the US nearly six years ago to get a master’s degree, was living in Orange, California, when he boarded a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago last October for what was supposed to be the first leg of his return home to India. But he was arrested in January after two United Airlines employees noticed he was wearing a badge that an airport operations manager had reported missing.

Singh told police that he stayed at the airport because the coronavirus pandemic had left him afraid to fly, and that he had been able to get by with the help of strangers who bought him food. A friend of Singh’s told the Tribune that he told her in text messages that he enjoyed talking to people at the airport about his Buddhist and Hindu beliefs on healing.

“I’m actually growing spiritually due to this experience and I know I will come out stronger,” he wrote to the friend in a text she shared with the newspaper.