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The TSA Strikes Again, And Again, And…


‘Serial Stowaway’ woman arrested again at Chicago O’Hare airport days after being released from jail

A woman known as the “serial stowaway” was arrested again on Sunday at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, just three days after she was released from jail after being nabbed for flying ticketless from the Illinois city to London.

Marilyn Hartman, 66, of Grayslake, was arrested just before 1:30 a.m. after police received a disturbance call about a woman refusing to leave the airport, police said in a statement sent to Fox News. She was nowhere to be found when officers arrived.

Hartman was later found in O’Hare’s Terminal 3 and was taken into custody. She was charged with a misdemeanor criminal trespass and is expected to appear in court later Sunday.

That’s the background, not the TSA part. I wonder how much “later” it was before the police found her.

Here’s the TSA part,

The 66-year-old’s latest arrest is one of the string of airport crimes that spans for years. Hartman was released Thursday after she was arrested last week for bypassing Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at O’Hare airport and boarded a British Airways flight without a ticket or boarding pass.

Police eventually caught Hartman, but not until she landed in London and returned on a flight back to Chicago.

The TSA part being that they didn’t catch her. The police, presumably in London caught her. On a guess, it was when she got off the airplane and couldn’t produce a passport. The English are rather finicky about that part. So, she then got a free flight back to Chicago, under arrest. I wonder if she was escorted by a British Constable or did a Chicago PD officer have to fly there only to bring her back.

Hartman has pulled a similar stunt at least eight times in 2014.

Eight times this 66 year old crazy lady has slipped by the eagle eyed TSA and either wandered around the “sterile” area in a terminal or got on a plane without a boarding pass. She may be crazy, but she sure isn’t dumb.

Here are some more details courtesy of this article in the Guardian.

The techniques that got her into the UK last week mirrored those she’s been practicing since 2009, according to multiple police reports. These include ducking under the velvet ropes, piggybacking her way into small groups, presenting other people’s boarding passes, or simply answering “yes”, when airport staff ask leading questions such as: “Are you Maria Sandgren?”

As I said, crazy but not stupid. The Guardian tells us that this isn’t sophisticated, but being able to pull it off is.

You can read that article, but beware it’s from the Guardian and full of typical leftist BS.

Her secret weapon is revealed by that wall of mug shots: Hartman is an aging and grandmotherly white woman who blends into crowds and does not make airport figures nervous.

Interestingly, women like this along with nubile teenage girls seem to be prime areas of TSA interest.

While people like this,

It is impossible to conceive of a younger person of, say, Middle Eastern origin, being treated so innocuously at the airport after being caught in the midst of sneaky behavior. It is also impossible to conceive of such a person being allowed to do this again and again and again with minimal repercussions.

The TSA is generally averse to stopping people like this because no one there wants to jeopardize his or her job by being accused of being racist.

That aside, this lady does reveal serious flaws in TSA procedures. The very first flaw is that people can get into the sterile area without showing a boarding pass. You can’t, or at least shouldn’t be able to, do that. I’ve been through TSA security at airports big and small, and one thing that has been true at all of them is that TSA scrutinizes your boarding pass and identification pretty closely before you get into the actual screening area.

In theory, you shouldn’t be able to get into the boarding areas without going through the TSA screening area first. Yet, somehow Hartman manages to do so.

BTW, her behavior goes back at least to 2009. That we know of.

To be completely fair, not all of the blame lies with the TSA. Still, we are assured that they are on the front lines of airline security, making it safe for all of us to fly.

Only to be defeated repeatedly by a crazy senior citizen. One whom, the criminal justice system treats quite leniently, even jokingly. She belongs in a place where she can’t continue to do this. And the TSA in Chicago needs to step up their game because right now they are as pathetic as the Chicago Bears.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.