Southern California

2 Remaining Orange County Jail Inmates Taken Into Custody in San Francisco

The two remaining inmates who escaped from an Orange County jail last week were taken into custody in San Francisco Saturday morning, officials said.

Jonathan Tieu, 20, of Fountain Valley, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, of Newport Beach were taken into custody by the San Francisco Police Department around 8:50 a.m. after a receiving a tip from an observant witness, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said at a news conference Saturday.

"The entire state can breathe a sigh of relief because we have the other two dangerous individuals back in custody," Hutchens said.

Nayeri and Tieu were expected to be transported back to Orange County Saturday night or early Sunday morning

Hutchens initially said a woman alerted police after seeing a white GMC van next to a Whole Foods parking lot near Golden Gate Park that looked similar to the one authorities reported the fugitives had stolen. A San Francisco police officer later said it was a man who alerted police of a suspicious person and vehicle.

According to Hutchens, as officers approached the van, Nayeri started to run. He was caught after a short chase at Waller and Stanyan streets. Tieu was found hiding in the van parked at Haight and Stanyan streets. Several rounds of ammunition were also found in the van, however no weapons were recovered, Hutchens said.

"This is an excellent example of how citizens can help the San Francisco Police Department keep the city safe," said SFPD Officer Grace Gatpandan.

Tieu and Nayeri remained at a San Francisco police station and were expected to be moved to the San Francisco County Jail, Hutchens said. Sheriff's said they were coordinating with San Francisco authorities to transfer the inmates back into Orange County custody.

Authorities were still investigating how the inmates obtained their escape tools and said no disciplinary action had been taken in the wake of the escape.

"If anybody else aided and abetted (the inmates), they're going to be prosecuted," Hutchens said. "We do not want another escape from an Orange County jail."

Officials said Friday, they were concentrating their efforts in the San Jose area Saturday where it was believed the inmates were hiding and were possibly en route to Fresno.

A major break in the weeklong manhunt came Friday, when Bac Duong, 43, who escaped from the Central Men's Jail early Jan. 22 along with Tieu and Nayeri, surrendered to authorities. According to Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, Duong walked up to a civilian in Santa Ana and said he wanted to turn himself in around 11:30 a.m.

Sheriff's officials said all three escapees were spotted Thursday in San Jose, but Duong somehow made his way back to Santa Ana to surrender.

A manager at the Alameda Motel in San Jose on Friday said he believed all three inmates stayed at his motel on Tuesday and Wednesday, before leaving Thursday morning.

Investigators said they believed the three escapees were living out of the van, which has paper license plates from Felix Chevrolet, with plate number 8U66466, although the plates may have been replaced and the windows were likely tinted. The van was listed for sale on Craiglist and Duong stole it when he took the vehicle for a test drive in South Los Angeles.

It's not clear how Duong got back to Southern California from San Jose, but early Friday Duong contacted a woman he knew at the auto electric repair shop just a few miles away from the jail, authorities and witnesses said.

Le Tran told NBC4 News that he saw Duong smoking a cigarette as he waited for authorities to arrest him at the Tran family's Auto Electric Rebuilders shop located at 1421 N. Harbor Boulevard. He said he does not know how Duong got to the shop, but that his sister knew Duong and might have visited him while he was in jail.

Shortly after the late-morning arrest, a team of well-armed officers in protective vests swarmed the business.

Meanwhile, more than 10 people have been arrested since the escape. Among them is a teacher who had a "significant role" in the planning of the jailbreak. The 44-year-old Lake Forest woman was arrested Thursday on suspicion of accessory to a felony in helping the inmates escape from lockup in downtown Santa Ana.

She allegedly provided the men with Google Earth maps of the jail complex, according to investigators. One of the escaped inmates, Nayeri, took her class at the Central Men's Jail and developed a relationship with her, said Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock.

Nayeri had been in custody since September 2014, Tieu since October 2013 and Duong since December.

Duong allegedly shot a man Nov. 18, 2015 after an argument on the patio of a Santa Ana home. He was charged with one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of assault with a firearm, one felony count of first-degree residential burglary, one felony count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling or house, one felony count of assault with a firearm with sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a firearm, personal discharge of a firearm and great bodily injury.

He was being held without bail on an immigration hold pending a possible federal deportation hearing. Duong also faces sentencing enhancements for a prior strike conviction for first-degree burglary in 1995 in San Diego County, prior prison convictions for second-degree burglary in 2007, reckless evading of a peace officer in 2008 and possession for sale of a controlled substance in 2011.

Nayeri is accused of participating in an attack, including torture, against a Newport Beach resident who ran a licensed marijuana dispensary in Santa Ana. Tieu faces murder and attempted murder charges in connection with a gang hit. Duong faces an attempted murder charge and was being held without bail on an immigration hold pending a possible federal deportation hearing.

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