SANTA ANA, Calif. - Two inmates who had escaped from a Santa Ana jail more than a week ago were in custody, authorities announced Saturday.
Hossein Nayeri and Jonathan Tieu were taken into custody in San Francisco, the Orange County Sheriff's Office announced on its Twitter feed.
San Francisco police were responding about 8:50 a.m. Saturday to an unrelated call when a man said he saw a white van that looked like the one authorities said the fugitives had stolen in the parking lot of a Whole Foods supermarket, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said during a news conference.
As officers approached the van, 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri started running. He was caught after a short chase.
Officers then went back to the van and found 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu hiding, the sheriff said.
Police found ammunition but no gun in the van.
"I think I did a big 'Whoop!' in the air," Hutchens said, describing her excitement about the arrests. "No sheriff wants to have an escape, especially as dangerous as these individuals were. My fear was that someone in the community was going to get hurt because they really had nothing to lose in my mind."
"This is an excellent example of how the public can help SFPD keep this city safe -- a citizen saw a someone suspicious, notified an officer, which ultimately led to the apprehension of two armed and dangerous criminals who escaped from jail," San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said in a statement, according to CBS affiliate KPIX.
The news comes a day after Bac Duong, the third prisoner in the group, turned himself in. Duong walked up to a Southern California auto shop where a friend works, had her call police and stood and smoked a cigarette until he was arrested.
Duong, 43, then told investigators that a day earlier he had been in Northern California with the other two inmates before breaking off to turn himself in, authorities said. Nayeri and Tieu were believed to have been in San Jose and driving a van that the men stole a day after their escape.
The three men had all been jailed and awaiting trial for 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 Hallock could not say if the two were romantically involved.
"It wasn't the relationship that you would expect between a teacher and an inmate in a custody setting," he said.
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.
Hutchens said the men's capture clears the way for an intense probe into how they were able to escape.
"We do not want another escape from an Orange County jail, I can tell you that," the sheriff said. "We're going to do everything we can in our power -- and it's not enough to say, 'Gee, we have an old jail, it's a challenging place.'"
Tieu, 20, is charged with murder and attempted murder in a 2011 gang shooting. Nayeri,37, had been held without bond since September 2014 on charges of kidnapping, torture, aggravated mayhem and burglary.