Crime & Justice

Woman sentenced Wednesday for stowing away on plane arrested at LAX again Thursday

This combination of four 2014 booking photos released by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office shows Marilyn Hartman.
This combination of four 2014 booking photos released by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office shows Marilyn Hartman.
San Mateo County Sheriff's Office/AP

Marilyn Jean Hartman was arrested Thursday at Los Angeles International Airport, according to a statement from the L.A. Airport Police, after being sentenced Wednesday to probation after stowing away on a plane on Monday.

Hartman, 62, was taken into custody around 11:15 a.m. near Terminal #7, according to the statement. She was taken to L.A. Police Pacific Division Jail.

"As the person ultimately responsible for the safety and security of employees and passengers at LAX, my experience led me to believe Hartman was likely to return to LAX," Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon said at an afternoon press conference, according to a statement. "When we knew she was going to be released from custody, we were prepared."

Authorities distributed flyers with Hartman's picture on it and she was spotted Thursday wandering through several terminals, Gannon said. She looked to be scouting for further stowaway opportunities, Gannon said.

Hartman had been spotted boarding a FlyAway bus from Union Station, according to the statement, before arriving at LAX and spending an hour looking around before being arrested.

"Airport Police officers did not observe Hartman attempting to purchase an airline ticket," the statement said. She also didn't have a ticket or boarding pass on her when arrested.

Hartman was ordered on Wednesday to 24 months' probation after she pleaded no contest to willfully and unlawfully entering the city as a stowaway on an aircraft, according to the Associated Press. The charge is a misdemeanor. Hartman also was ordered to stay away from Los Angeles International Airport unless she has a ticket to board a flight.

She smiled as she left court and told reporters she regretted what she did, and vowed never to board a plane without a ticket, the AP reports.

"It was stupid, and it is something that I don't want to repeat," Hartman said, according to the AP.

She said homelessness drove her to take "desperate measures," and that she feels safer being in airports than in the streets, according to the AP.

Her breach of security caused federal officials and the airline to launch investigations, the AP reports. It also prompted criticism of San Jose's airport in light of the trespassing of a teenage boy who stowed away in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight and survived the arduous journey to Maui.

California Congressman Eric Swalwell, who raised security concerns after April's breach, said Tuesday the latest incident was an "apparent failure by both airport security and the airline of protecting passengers from a potential threat to their safety," the AP reports.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that Hartman has lived in shelters and motels up and down the West Coast for a decade and has been homeless since February.

In February, Hartman was sentenced to 18 months' probation in San Mateo County after being arrested for attempting to board three Hawaii-bound flights at the San Francisco International Airport on three separate days, according to the AP. In November 2010, Hartman made it as far as the airport baggage claim on the Hawaiian island of Kauai before being arrested, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Hartman told authorities in the past that she wanted to fly somewhere warm because she had cancer, said Steve Wagstaffe, district attorney for San Mateo County, according to the AP. Hartman had cancer but has been in remission for several years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Authorities placed Hartman in treatment for mental disorders in May but said she stopped attending last month, according to the AP. Wagstaffe said he had no plans to take any additional measures against her.

"She declined all of our efforts to offer her assistance," Wagstaffe said, the AP reports. "And we tried all of the alternatives we had because we weren't interested in locking her up on our end."

This story has been updated.