SF homeless man who spotted escaped Orange County inmates gets $100K reward

(AP Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A homeless man from San Francisco who pointed police toward two Orange County inmates who had escaped from jail will get the lion’s share of a $150,000 reward set up for their successful capture, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors awarded Matthew Hay-Chapman $100,000, said Jean Pasco, a county spokeswoman.

Hay-Chapman was on his routine walk to get his cup of Joe from McDonalds in January when he saw a white van in the nearby Whole Foods parking lot. It was odd. People appeared to be sleeping inside.

One man got out of the van, and Hay-Chapman recognized him from the newspapers he salvaged from the garbage cans. It was one of three escaped convicts from Santa Ana. The whole state was looking for them.

He told police who soon caught Hossein Nayeri after a chase and found Jonathan Tieu still inside the van.

Hay-Chapman said if he got the money, he wanted to start a new life and help his grown children who have also had struggles. Hay-Chapman, 55, also said he has chronic back pain and cannot work.

Two Target employees and a man whose van was stolen by the escapees will also get part of the reward. They will split the remaining $50,000.

Hossein Nayeri, Jonathan Tieu and Bac Duong escaped from Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana on Jan. 22 and were the subject of a statewide manhunt for days.

Hay-Chapman spotted Nayeri and Tieu on Jan. 28 in San Francisco and recognized their stolen white GMC van from news reports. He pointed them out to police officers in the area, leading to their arrest.

The third fugitive, Bac Duong, had surrendered to police in Orange County the day before.

The owner of the stolen van will receive $20,000, officials said.

Armando Damian, of Los Angeles, called police to say that a man responding to a Craig’s List ad had taken it for a test drive on Jan. 23 and not returned.

A Target store manager and a loss prevention officer will each receive $15,000.

Manager Hazel Javier noticed two men acting suspiciously on surveillance footage on the night of Jan. 22. She showed the video to loss prevention officer Jeffrey Arana and called police because he thought the men might be the fugitives.

A cab driver who was held hostage for a week by the three men did not receive any of the reward money.

This report was compiled with information from The Associated Press & CNN

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