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A Woman Who’s Tried to Sneak Aboard Over 10 Flights Finally Made It From Chicago to London Before Being Busted

David Meyer
A Woman Who’s Tried to Sneak Aboard Over 10 Flights Finally Made It From Chicago to London Before Being Busted

How easy is it to sneak past airport security and fly without a ticket or passport? Well, one Illinois woman just managed to make it all the way from Chicago’s O’Hare to London’s Heathrow airport—and it was far from the first time she’d tried to pull off her stowaway stunt.

Marilyn Hartmann, from Grayslake, was arrested Thursday at O’Hare after she managed to bypass the TSA and fly to the U.K. Upon her arrival in London, she was sent back to Chicago, as British Airways had by that point warned the U.K. authorities.

According to a Chicago Tribune report, Hartmann now faces a felony theft charge (the ticket would have cost $2,400) and a misdemeanour trespass charge. She is free for now, but is wearing an ankle bracelet as she is—all together now—a “flight risk,” in the words of judge Stephanie Miller. She has also been told to undergo psychiatric treatment.

This is at least the tenth time that Hartmann has tried her luck. According to a New York Post report, she was busted at least eight times in 2014, arrested twice at Chicago airports in 2015, and also caught out in California and Arizona. The 66-year-old spent a year in jail for her troubles, being released at the end of 2015.

How did she manage it this time? Hartmann reportedly blended in with passengers and used her hair to hide her face. According to prosecutors, she then tried and failed to board a flight to Connecticut.

After sleeping overnight in O’Hare’s international terminal, she somehow made it past British Airways staff and a Customs and Border Patrol office. Once onboard, she hid in an aircraft toilet, then found an empty seat.

“Upon learning of the incident, TSA and its aviation partners took immediate action to review security practices throughout the airport,” the agency said Friday.