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Woman known for trying to sneak on planes freed after jail time for latest stowaway attempts


CHICAGO — A woman who has repeatedly tried to sneak aboard airplanes around the country has been released from the Cook County Jail in Chicago, insisting she's through with her run of stowaway attempts.

"I feel free as a bird," 63-year-old Marilyn Hartman told reporters outside the jail Thursday.

Hartman was arrested after trying several times to get past security at O'Hare and Midway airports in April and May. She has tried numerous times in recent years to board flights without a ticket and succeeded at least once, flying from San Jose to Los Angeles last August on a Southwest Airlines flight.

In that incident, she slipped past an agent who was checking a family's boarding passes, went through security screening and then somehow got past a gate agent.

She pleaded guilty this week to misdemeanor criminal trespassing on state land and was released Thursday after nearly two months in jail.

Speaking to reporters, she offered little in the way of explanation for her behavior, saying only that "even smart people do stupid things."

In the past, she has talked of struggles with mental illness and homelessness, saying she feels safer in airports than in the streets.

On Thursday she said she was done with stowaway attempts and would stay out of airports unless she had a ticket.

"If I have a ticket I can go," she said. "If I have a ticket to ride. Sounds like a song. But if I have that I can go."

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