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Arrest of Chicago airport squatter captured on video

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(CHICAGO) — A man alleged to have lived in plain sight at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for three months was wearing a bright-yellow safety vest and striped sweatpants when he was arrested, according to newly released video of his capture.

Security footage showing the Jan. 16 arrest of 36-year-old Aditya Singh, released by the Chicago Department of Aviation, has raised new questions about how Singh managed to go undetected for so long at the nation’s busiest airport.

The soundless video shows uniformed airport police officers questioning Singh outside a men’s restroom at the airport before apparently instructing him to hold out his arms to be searched.

Singh was allegedly posing as an airport worker when he was taken into custody. He was found in possession of an airport operations manager’s security credential that was reported misplaced around the time Singh began living at the airport, authorities said.

Singh reportedly told authorities he became so frightened to fly back to his home in Orange County, California, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that he decided to hunker down in the airport. It remains unclear how long Singh intended to stay at the facility, where he lived off food provided by strangers, authorities said.

The man’s airport-squatting stint ended when two United Airlines employees became suspicious and confronted Singh, who allegedly showed them the misplaced airport identification badge, according to the Chicago Tribune. Singh told officials that he had been living at the airport since Oct. 19.

“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,” the Chicago Department of Aviation said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners on a thorough investigation of this matter.”

Singh was charged with impersonating an airport employee in a restricted area of the airport and theft of less than $500, according to police.

He remained locked up at the Cook County Jail on Sunday without bond, according to online jail records.

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