SANTA ANA, Calif. — A tip from an observant woman led San Francisco police to catch two escaped inmates who had been on the run for more than a week, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said Saturday.

Police were responding about 8:50 a.m. Saturday to an unrelated call when a woman said she saw a parked white van that looked like the one authorities said the fugitives had stolen, Hutchens said at 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 said they found ammunition but no gun in the van.

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.

The men were arrested near Golden Gate park, an area popular with tourists and the homeless.

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 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, sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock said.

She was booked on suspicion of being an accessory to a felony and was being held pending a court appearance Monday.

Duong, a native of Vietnam, has been held since last month on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.


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