After Arrests of Escaped California Inmates, Authorities Try to Find Out How They Got Out

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is all smiles as she answers questions about the capture of jail escapees Hossein Nayeri and Jonathan Tieu during a news conference outside Orange County Sheriff's Department headquarters in Santa Ana on Jan. 30, 2016. (Photo: Ken Steinhardt/The Orange County Register via AP)
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is all smiles as she answers questions about the capture of jail escapees Hossein Nayeri and Jonathan Tieu during a news conference outside Orange County Sheriff’s Department headquarters in Santa Ana on Jan. 30, 2016. (Photo: Ken Steinhardt/The Orange County Register via AP)

Now that the three violent inmates who escaped from a California jail are back in custody, the focus will turn to how they were able to saw, crawl and climb their way out of a maximum-security facility.

The last two fugitives from a trio of inmates who escaped from a California jail last week were arrested Saturday in San Francisco after a citizen flagged down a police officer and pointed out their white getaway van in a Whole Foods parking lot, authorities said.

Jonathan Tieu, 20, of Fountain Valley, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, of Newport Beach, were taken into custody a day after fellow escapee, Bac Duong, 43, surrendered to a civilian on a Santa Ana street.

Orange County sheriff Sandra Hutchens told reporters that a San Francisco police officer, who was on an unrelated medical call, was approached Saturday morning by a man who pointed out the van, which had been widely described by local media.

Hutchens said the man, who is likely to get a share of a $200,000 reward for the inmates’ capture, told the officer it “looks like the van I’ve been seeing on the news.”

As officers approached the van, Nayeri fled on foot but was captured after a short chase. The officers then returned to the van and found Tieu hiding inside, Hutchens said. Officers found ammunition, but no weapons, inside the vehicle.

Duong, who turned himself in Friday, had stolen the van on Jan. 23, a day after the jailbreak, while taking it for a test drive. Until his capture, it was the only reported sighting of the men since their escape.

The three inmates had been held in a dormitory with about 65 other men in Santa Ana, about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. They escaped early Jan. 22 by cutting a hole in a metal grate before crawling through plumbing tunnels and onto the roof of a five-story jail building. They then pushed aside barbed wire and rappelled down using a rope made of bed sheets.

“Believe me, we will be looking top to bottom on that,” Hutchens said. “We do not want another escape from an Orange County jail.”

Authorities say Duong has been held without bond since last month on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges in a gang shooting. Immigration authorities and records indicate he had been ordered deported to Vietnam in 1998 but remained in the country and racked up a lengthy rap sheet.

Tieu had been held since October 2013 on charges of murder, attempted murder and shooting at an inhabited dwelling. His case is believed to be gang-related.

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SOURCE: Doug Stanglin
USA TODAY