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‘Serial stowaway’ arrested days after judge bans her from airport

By Jeremy Gorner, Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas and Nereida Moreno • Jan 29, 2018 at 11:00 AM

CHICAGO — A woman arrested earlier this month for sneaking onto a plane and flying to London was arrested again early Sunday when police spotted her at O’Hare International Airport, authorities said.

Marilyn Hartman, 66, was barred by a Cook County judge from entering the airport after she was charged with felony theft for allegedly sneaking onto a British Airways jet at O’Hare and flying to the United Kingdom without a $2,400 plane ticket. Hartman, who is notorious for stowing away on commercial airplanes, also was charged in that incident with misdemeanor criminal trespassing for entering O’Hare illegally.

In addition to ordering Hartman to stay away from O’Hare at a Jan. 20 bond hearing, the judge, Stephanie K. Miller, required her to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and wear an ankle monitor until her case is concluded. Miller released Hartman on her own recognizance.

That order was complicated by the fact that the system would be unable to supervise electronic monitoring at Hartman’s home in a different county, so she appeared in court again on Thursday.

While rescinding the ankle monitor and lowering her bond to $10,000 from $25,000, Associate Judge Donald Panarese Jr. warned her three separate times during the brief court hearing to stay away from O’Hare International Airport. The order applied to Midway Airport, too.

Hartman was arrested again about 1:30 a.m. Sunday when authorities responded to a call for a disturbance, in which a woman was refusing to leave a part of O’Hare, according to a Chicago Police Department spokesman.

Officers went to the airport but couldn’t immediately find the woman. They did a search of the airport and found the woman in Terminal 3 and identified her as Hartman, the police spokesman said. The woman was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing on state land and a violation of a bail bond.

It had been just three days since her last court appearance.

Later in the same day she appeared before Judge Mike Clancy, who didn’t say anything directly to her, and Hartman did not address the judge.

Clancy ordered Hartman held with no bail in connection with violation of the terms of her previous bail. She’ll remain in custody until her next court date on Jan. 31.

During her Jan. 20 bond hearing, prosecutors said Hartman used her hair to hide her face and walk past two federal Transportation Security Administration agents who were checking boarding passes around 2 p.m. Jan. 14 at O’Hare.

After entering a security checkpoint, she then went to a terminal and tried to board a plane to Connecticut, but as she tried to “dart around” another passenger in line, she was stopped by a flight agent and told to sit down, Assistant State’s Attorney Maria McCarthy previously told the court.

Hartman got onto a shuttle bus to the International Terminal and slept there overnight, prosecutors said.

The next day, Hartman managed to get past British Airways ticket agents and a Customs and Border Patrol officer, and onto a plane, prosecutors said. She sat in an empty seat and flew to London’s Heathrow Airport, but when she showed her documents to a Customs agent, she was identified as someone who entered England without proper documentation, McCarthy said.

Hartman was flown back to O’Hare, and Chicago police and other officials were waiting for her when she arrived, prosecutors said. She later admitted to boarding the London-bound flight without buying a ticket, McCarthy said.

Hartman’s movements through the airport were recorded on surveillance video, according to authorities.

The TSA is investigating how Hartman was able to get through security.

That was Hartman’s first arrest in Chicago since 2016, but she has a long history of trying to sneak onto airplanes.

Hartman was given probation when she was sentenced after pleading guilty in a February 2016 trespassing charge, but she was sentenced to 364 days in jail a few weeks later, according to court records.

At the time she was sentenced to jail, Hartman had been living at a mental health facility on the Near North Side before violating the terms of her conviction by leaving the facility and going to O’Hare.

Hartman has been detained several times across the country for trying to bypass airport security. In a court filing after her arrest in July 2015 at O’Hare on trespass charges, Cook County prosecutors described Hartman as a “serial stowaway.” She told WMAQ-TV in December 2015 that she “may have” boarded planes without a ticket eight times.

Hartman also has three misdemeanor convictions for similar crimes in California, McCarthy said.

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(William Lee contributed to this report.)

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©2018 Chicago Tribune

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PHOTO (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194): Marilyn Hartman

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