OC Fugitive Inmates Spotted in San Jose

Three inmates escaped Jan. 22 from a lockup in Santa Ana

Sheriff's officials said Friday that all three escaped inmates were spotted in the San Jose area, likely using the white GMC van that was stolen from South Los Angeles last Saturday.

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.

One of them, Bac Duong, 43, of Santa Ana, apparently made it back to the Santa Ana area on his own, and he surrendered to authorities Friday morning, said Orange County Sheriff's Department Lt. Jeff Hallock.

After Duong was captured, sheriff's deputies surrounded a used car dealership near the site of the arrest. Aerial video showed law enforcement officers with guns drawn in the lot, looking into vehicles and large sheds on the Auto Electric Rebuilders property. (Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly named Tripoli Auto Sales as the property.)

It was not immediately clear whether authorities believe the remaining two fugitives are on the lot, but no additional arrests were reported early Friday afternoon.

Duong disappeared from the Central Men's Jail early Jan. 22, along with Jonathan Tieu,  20, of Fountain Valley, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, of Newport Beach.

Duong was taken into custody Friday after he approached someone on a Santa Ana street and asked to contact police, said OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. 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 on 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.

Duong was arrested at about 11:30 a.m. Friday, Hutchens said. She did not provide details regarding the encounter with the "civilian," but authorities confirmed Duong was located in the 1400 block of North Harbor Boulevard.

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. Prior to the escape, Duong was scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Feb. 8.

The arrest comes after news of a teacher at Central Men's Jail in Orange County, 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.

Hallock said around 10 people have been arrested since the escape a week  ago Friday. Several other arrests — for unrelated warrants or probation issues — have also taken place during the manhunt. Hallock said investigators believe the escaped inmates stole a white GMC Savana utility van in the South Los Angeles area on Saturday, and the inmates may be living out of it.

The van has paper license plates from Felix Chevrolet, with plate number 8U66466, although the plates may have been removed and replaced.

The three inmates disappeared after a 5 a.m. body count in the jail, but they were not discovered missing until close to 9 p.m., when the second daily body count was conducted. The made their way to the rooftop, then rappelled down about six stories.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said Wednesday she suspects Nayeri was the "mastermind" of the breakout based on his military training in the U.S. Armed  Forces.

The search for the escaped inmates has focused heavily on a Vietnamese gang active in Westminster and Garden Grove.

On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors quadrupled the reward  for information that leads to the inmates' recapture, boosting it to $200,000. The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service pledged the initial $50,000.

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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