Police say the woman or others responsible for leaving the alligator could face a misdemeanor charge.(Photo: Chicago Transit Authority)
Chicago Transit Authority officials are asking for the public's help in identifying a woman who they say left an alligator at O'Hare International Airport.
Earlier this month, travelers may have had a unique encounter with the reptile.
The 2-foot-long alligator was found hiding under an escalator in the lower level of a terminal, according to CTA officials. The reptile was removed and taken to the Chicago Herpetological Society.
Working with Chicago police, CTA security officials found a picture posted to a social media website of a woman carrying the reptile as she boarded a CTA Blue Line train.
An investigation into the incident revealed the woman boarded a northbound Blue Line train at the Pulaski Station around 1:15 a.m. Nov. 1. Interior rail car cameras showed the woman holding the alligator in her hands and showing it to other passengers during her trip. Around 2:15 a.m., the woman left the train with the alligator at the O'Hare Blue Line terminal, according to the CTA.
By 2:44 a.m., she was spotted near the turnstiles of the O'Hare rail station without the alligator, the CTA added.
The CTA is now asking for the public's help in finding the woman.
"Right now, CTA has issued the photos" to get information from the public," CTA spokesperson Catherine Hosinski told USA TODAY. "Police do not have an open investigation on this. But any tips that we receive, we will pass it along to police."
So far, Hosinski says, the CTA has received a couple of tips that they are looking into.
Police say the woman or others responsible for leaving the alligator could face a misdemeanor charge of cruel treatment of an animal or face a fine of $300 to $1,000 for cruelty to animals for abandoning the animal in a public place.