LA stowaway has history of sneaking aboard flights

Associated Press
This combination of four 2014 booking photos released by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office shows Marilyn Hartman. Federal law enforcement officials say Hartman tried at least three times to breach airport security before she was able to get through a checkpoint without a boarding pass at Mineta San Jose International Airport on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/San Mateo County Sheriff's Office)
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A woman who flew from San Jose to Los Angeles without a boarding pass was homeless and had recently left mental treatment ordered after at least seven past attempts to sneak aboard flights, officials said.

Marilyn Jean Hartman made at least three attempts on Monday alone before she finally went past a screener who was busy checking a family's documents at Mineta San Jose International Airport, according to law enforcement officials. They would speak only on condition of anonymity because the security breach is being investigated.

Hartman, 62, then went through the electronic screening process before entering an airport terminal.

Her boarding status was discovered once Southwest Airlines Flight 3785 landed in Los Angeles, the officials said.

On Wednesday, Hartman was ordered to 24 months' probation after she pleaded no contest to willfully and unlawfully entering the city as a stowaway on an aircraft, 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.

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

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

Her breach of security caused federal officials and the airline to launch investigations. 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 San Jose Mercury News (http://bit.ly/1lC3KAi) 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. 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 said.

Hartman told authorities in the past that wanted to fly somewhere warm because she had cancer, said Steve Wagstaffe, district attorney for San Mateo County. 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. 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. "And we tried all of the alternatives we had because we weren't interested in locking her up on our end."

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