‘Serial Stowaway’ Marilyn Hartman Arrested at O’Hare: Cops

A furious Cook County judge previously ordered Hartman to six months of mental health confinement, telling her he is convinced she is "addicted to attention."

Serial Stowaway Marilyn Hartman Mug
Chicago Police Department via AP

So-called “serial stowaway” Marilyn Hartman was arrested again by Chicago police Thursday night, after boarding a British Airways plane to London.

Hartman, 66, was charged with felony theft. 

A source close to the investigation tells NBC5 Hartman made it to London’s Heathrow Airport, where she was denied entry, and returned to the United States.

“The first breach was at TSA,” another source said, although that person would not elaborate on how Hartman managed to board the aircraft.

Investigators believe she spent close to 24 hours inside Terminal 5. At one point, she tried to board an aircraft and failed. Personnel assumed she was confused.

Hartman reportedly made her way through a screening point in O’Hare’s Terminal 3, then made her way to Terminal 5, where she boarded the British Airways flight. It is believed she managed to get onto a British Airways flight with some kind of large group.

“She did not have a ticket,” the source said.

The TSA likewise would not elaborate on how Hartman managed to evade federal security, saying only in a statement, “This matter is subject to an ongoing investigation and TSA is working closely with our law enforcement and airline partners in that effort.

Onboard, airline personnel realized she did not belong on the flight. She had no passport, and on arrival in London she was detained. When it could be arranged she was returned to Chicago and was arrested at O'Hare on arrival.

The Chicago Department of Aviation released a statement, advising that no passengers had been put at risk by the episode.

“We are working with our law enforcement partners to support a comprehensive and thorough investigation, while continuing to maintain the highest levels of security at O’Hare Airport,” the statement said.

During the initial investigation it was determined that the passenger was screened at the security checkpoint before boarding a flight. Upon learning of the incident TSA, and its aviation partners took immediate action to review security practices throughout the airport.”

Hartman spent a year in Cook County Jail after repeated episodes of attempting to board aircraft at O’Hare and Midway airports. During various stages of her confinement she has been treated for psychiatric issues.

Hartman has long struggled with homelessness and mental health, and has had encounters with authorities at airports across the United States. A year ago, upon her release from Cook County Jail, she was driven by Cook County Sheriff’s deputies to a nursing home in Waukegan. She recently left that facility.

Hartman is expected in court Saturday at noon.

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