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Woman known as ‘serial stowaway’ to stay jailed after latest O’Hare arrest
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Woman known as ‘serial stowaway’ to stay jailed after latest O’Hare arrest

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CHICAGO — The woman known as the “serial stowaway,” accused of sneaking through airport security and onto flights, will remain in custody as her latest cases are pending, a Cook County judge ruled Monday.

Marilyn Hartman’s attorney argued she had successfully stayed away from airports for about a year before her latest arrest, that a West Side residential facility was eager to take Hartman back and that she needs therapy she can’t get behind bars.

Judge Peggy Chiampas, who has repeatedly told Hartman to stay away from airports, rejected the idea that the latest arrest in March was an anomaly.

“This is not an aberration, this a pattern that has been established by your client, that she continuously refuses to honor and respect this court’s order. Not once, not twice, but numerous times. Numerous times,” Chiampas said.

Hartman will continue to be held without bail on allegations that she violated the terms of her probation and her previous bail bond. And bail on her most recent case will remain at $100,000, the judge said.

Hartman was last arrested after she left her residential facility without permission, prosecutors said. Authorities tracked her ankle bracelet to the O’Hare CTA station, where she was arrested without incident. She now faces a new charge of escape from electronic monitoring.

That arrest came two weeks after a court hearing in which Hartman’s attorneys and prosecutors said they had reached the plea deal on her pending 2019 case: 18 months of probation, plus court-ordered mental health treatment.

Formal plea proceedings had not begun, but Chiampas preemptively put attorneys on notice that she was not inclined to agree to that sentence.

Hartman was arrested at O’Hare in October 2019 just as she was trying to pass the second of two security checkpoints, prosecutors have said. That arrest violated the terms of her probation sentence for sneaking past O’Hare security in January 2018, boarding a jet and flying to London’s Heathrow Airport without a ticket.

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Chiampas balked at giving another probation period to someone who had previously violated one.

Hartman spent time in Cook County Jail before being released in March 2020, part of an effort to release low-risk detainees in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. She was put on a county electronic monitoring program with an ankle bracelet, and placed at a West Side facility that provides supportive and transitional housing.

She stayed at that facility until her most recent arrest, and has been in custody at the jail ever since.


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