published Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Woman accused of leaving gator at airport arrested

CHICAGO — Authorities have arrested a woman they believe left a small alligator at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport late last year.

In a news release, Chicago police said 29-year-old Alexis Prokopchuk of suburban Oakbrook Terrace was charged with misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct and cruelty to animals. She was arrested Tuesday.

The 2-foot-long alligator was spotted and captured in a baggage claim area on Nov. 1 of last year.

Police recovered security footage that showed a woman with an alligator under her arm boarding a Chicago Transit Authority train, then chatting on a cellphone while the animal sat in her hand on her knee. An hour later, she disembarked at the airport.

Prokopchuk could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A phone listing for a Prokopchuk in Oakbrook Terrace has been disconnected.

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