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This Woman Won't Stop Trying to Sneak onto Airplanes

Marilyn Hartman was arrested at Chicago's airport Sunday just weeks after she got caught slipping onto a flight to London.

by Drew Schwartz; illustrated by Lia Kantrowitz
30 January 2018, 9:38am

Photo of Marilyn Hartman via Chicago Police Department via AP.

Marilyn Hartman, 66, has been stopped by cops numerous times at airports across America, trying to sneak onto flights without a ticket. The so-called "serial stowaway" has reportedly hitched rides to LA, Jacksonville, Florida, and earlier this month, London, which got her banned from both of her local airports last Thursday, Chicago's Midway and O'Hare International.

But it looks like Hartman just couldn't stay away. According to the Chicago Tribune, she was arrested on Sunday at O'Hare's Terminal 3 trying to hop on yet another flight just days after a judge ordered her to steer clear of the travel hub. She's currently being held without bond and charged with criminal trespassing and violating the terms of her bail.

According to the Tribune, Hartman claimed back in 2015 that she's boarded at least eight flights without a ticket. That year she was arrested at LAX after allegedly sneaking past a TSA agent in San Jose, California, and weaseling her way onto a Southwest flight. Prosecutors say she managed to get past British Airways ticket staff and a Customs and Border Patrol officer earlier this month and onto a flight to London for free in an empty seat that would have cost $2,400.

"She said: 'I’m an old white lady. Nobody stops me,'" Cara Smith, a policy adviser for the Cook County Sheriff's Office told the Chicago Sun Times. "She is in great need of mental health services and support," she added.

According to the New York Times, the 66-year-old has a history of mental health issues and has spent time in homeless shelters and mental health facilities. On Sunday, she appeared before another judge who ordered her to stay in jail until her next hearing, scheduled for Wednesday.

For its part, the TSA says it's "working closely" with "law enforcement and airline partners" to figure out just how Hartman keeps sneaking past agents and onto airplanes unnoticed. Though it's really not that surprising, given how bad the agency is at detecting potential threats.

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.

air travel
marilyn hartman
serial stowaway