SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com/AP) — Two inmates who remained at large after breaking out of a California jail more than a week ago have been arrested, Orange County sheriff’s officials said Saturday.
Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, were in the custody of the San Francisco Police Department, the Orange County sheriff’s department said on its Twitter feed. A news conference was scheduled for noon.
Officers were flagged down just before 9 a.m. Saturday morning in the Park District in San Francisco regarding a suspicious person and a vehicle that matched the description of a stolen van that had been linked with the fugitives, according to San Francisco Police Media Relations.
Upon arriving on scene, officers located a man matching Nayeri’s description at Waller and Stanyan Streets, where a foot pursuit
ensued around Kezar Stadium and the Park District Police Station, police said.
The suspect, later identified as Nayeri, was apprehended a short time later.
Officers then located the suspicious van at Haight and Stanyan Streets, where officers found Tieu hiding inside. He was apprehended without incident, according to police.
Ammunition was found in the van, but no weapon was located, according to investigators.
Authorities had been hunting for Tieu, Nayeri and a third inmate, 43-year-old Bac Duong, in Southern California since they pulled off a brazen jail escape on Jan. 22.
On Friday, Duong walked into an auto repair shop and said he wanted to surrender. He told investigators he had last seen the other two inmates Thursday afternoon in San Jose, shifting the manhunt 400 miles to the north.
The three men had all been jailed and awaiting trial on charges in separate violent crimes. They were held in a dormitory with about 65 other men in the jail about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
The men escaped in the early morning hours after cutting a hole in a metal grate then crawling through plumbing tunnels and onto the roof of a four-story jail building.
They pushed aside barbed wire and rappelled down using a rope made of bed linen.
It took jail staff 16 hours to realize the three men were missing.
On Thursday, authorities arrested a woman who taught English inside the jail. Nooshafarin Ravaghi, 44, gave Nayeri a paper copy of a Google Earth map that showed an aerial view of the entire jail compound, Hallock said.
She was booked on suspicion of being an accessory to a felony and was being held pending a court appearance set for Monday.
It wasn’t clear if she had a lawyer.
Ravaghi and Nayeri also exchanged “personal and close” handwritten letters, but sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock could not say if the two were romantically involved.
Duong, a native of Vietnam, has been held since last month on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
It was the first escape in nearly three decades from the Central Men’s Jail, built in 1968, that holds 900 men.
Tieu is charged with murder and attempted murder in a 2011 gang shooting. Nayeri had been held without bond since September 2014 on charges of kidnapping, torture, aggravated mayhem and burglary.
At a news conference Saturday, OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said, “The entire state can breathe a sigh of relief.”
When the three men are all returned to Santa Ana they will be housed separately.
“Because they are flight risks they will be housed in a different area and different manner,” Hutchens said.
Sheriff Hutchens told CBS2’s Greg Mills she’s already made a number of changes to tighten up security.
Although she reportedly received a letter from the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriff’s asking her to relieve Captain Chris Russell from his duties of running the jail, she said she had not made any personnel changes.
The union made a statement Saturday saying, “It is our understanding that our members are being told a Sheriff’s commander has appointed a lieutenant to assume command of the Central Men’s Jail.”
Hutchens reiterated the fact no personnel changers were made after being made aware of that statement. She wrote, “I have been very clear from the onset of the jail escape investigation that I am deeply concerned about the length of time it took to recognize that three maximum security inmates were unaccounted for. I have initiated an internal administrative investigation to determine the facts of what occurred, contributing factors to the escape and inmate count procedures. Until the investigation is complete, I am unable to discuss further. Please know that we have taken immediate action to ensure that this situation will not happen again, and that the safety of our community is my highest priority.”
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