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Woman charged with animal cruelty after leaving alligator at O’Hare

A 25-inch-long alligator was found O'Hare International Airport Friday. / phofrom Chicago Herpetological Society.

A 25-inch-long alligator was found at O'Hare International Airport Friday. / photo from Chicago Herpetological Society.

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Updated: January 22, 2014 1:25PM

A west suburban woman has been charged with reckless conduct and cruelty to animals for abandoning an alligator at O’Hare International Airport in November, police said Wednesday.

Alexis Prokopchuk, 29, of the 17400 block of West Eisenhower in Oak Brook Terrace, was arrested Tuesday, according to Chicago Police.

The 25-inch-long alligator was discovered under an escalator by a maintenance worker on the lower level of Terminal 3 on Nov. 1, police said. Police contained the alligator in a trash receptacle, and the Chicago Herpetological Society took custody, police said.

The alligator was in poor health when it was found, and the Herpetological Society planned to ship it to an out-of-state facility once it was rehabbed, CHS president Jason Hood said when the animal was found.

“It is very lucky to have been spotted and captured before the weather killed it,” Hood said at the time.

An image posted on social media showed the reptile on a CTA Blue Line Train, and CTA security began investigating how the alligator got to the airport, according to a statement from the agency.

The CTA found surveillance images of a woman, who boarded a northbound Blue Line train at the Pulaski station about 1:17 a.m. Nov. 1 with the alligator in her hand, the statement said.

Interior rail car cameras show the woman holding the alligator in her hand and showing it to other passengers.

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