CHICAGO — A west suburban woman was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty after she allegedly took an alligator for a ride on the CTA and left it at O'Hare Airport in November, authorities said.
Alexis Prokopchuk, 29, of Oakbrook Terrace, was also charged with two counts of misdemeanor reckless conduct, police said.
Prokopchuk was arrested on Tuesday in Chicago, said Officer Janel Sedevic, a police spokeswoman.
CTA surveillance showed a woman riding with the small alligator on the Blue Line about 1:17 a.m. on Nov. 1, police said. She was seen holding the alligator in her hands and showing it off to other passengers, the CTA has said.
About an hour later, the woman was back on the CTA, this time without the animal.
Later that day, an alligator was found inside O'Hare Airport near a Terminal 3 escalator.
The Tribune reported that the 2-foot-long alligator was not eating on its own after the abandonment, and the Chicago Herpetological Society was working to nurse it back to health.
Upon her arrest, Prokopchuk told police that she and her ex-boyfriend took animal off the hands of a friend who planned to flush it down the toilet, according to the Tribune.
Prokopchuk also at some point admitted to cops that she was high on crack cocaine and heroin at the time, and that's why she forgot the animal at the airport, the Tribune reported.
It is illegal to own an alligator in the state without a permit.
Prokopchuk was expected to appear in Cook County court on Wednesday.