'Serial Stowaway' Arrested for 10th Time After Sneaking Onto Another Flight
A woman nicknamed the “serial stowaway” was caught in London earlier this month after sneaking onto a British Airways flight from Chicago. It marks at least the 10th time she’s been arrested for slipping past airport security.
Marilyn Jean Hartman has been known as the “serial stowaway” for years. Her record with sneaking onto airplanes dates back at least four years.
In 2014, San Francisco International Airport issued a restraining order against Hartman after she attempted to sneak onto four different flights to Hawaii. At the time, she told police that she was terminally ill and wanted to be someplace warm, according to a local news channel. Her statement was revealed to be untrue. Later that year, she boarded a Southwest flight from San Jose to Los Angeles. She was caught at LAX and sentenced to two years’ probation.
Ever since, her record has been littered with similar incidents. In 2015, she boarded a flight from Minnesota to Florida without a ticket. She was jailed in Chicago for trying to sneak through security twice that same year. In 2016, she was sentenced to another two years of probation and six months in a mental health facility after she was caught trying to sneak on a flight.
And earlier this month, she showed up in London. After sneaking through security on Jan. 14, Hartman spent the night in Chicago O’Hare’s International Terminal. She boarded a British Airways flight to London the following day. But upon landing in London, a Customs agent stopped Hartman. She didn’t have a passport. She was sent back to Chicago, where police were waiting for her arrival.
“During the initial investigation it was determined that the passenger was screened at the security checkpoint before boarding a flight,” the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in a statement. “Upon learning of the incident, TSA and its aviation partners took immediate action to review security practices throughout the airport.”
The 66-year-old woman refuses to divulge her secrets for sneaking past security — although Chicago O’Hare video security shows Hartman hiding her face with her hair and slipping past two TSA agents when they were distracted. In 2014, Hartman told reporters “I don’t think it’s wise to say why I got through. I don’t want to help the enemy. I’m first and foremost an American.”
She’s been characterized as a homeless loner who drifted up and down the West Coast for 10 years, sleeping in women’s shelters and motels. In 2015, San Francisco Gate published a lengthy profile on Hartman, wherein she detailed a long conspiracy against herself that included everyone from TSA agents to President Barack Obama.
Hartman had been living in an apartment complex for low-income seniors in a Chicago suburb before her most recent arrest. Because she poses neither a harm to herself or others, Hartman is not a candidate for mental health detention.
In a hearing over the weekend, Hartman was released on her own recognizance. The judge ordered her to undergo psychiatric treatment. She is banned from O’Hare and any British Airway aircraft. She must also wear an ankle tracking device until the conclusion of her case.