Reward rises to $200,000 in Orange County jail escape

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The reward has risen to $200,000 for information leading to the arrests of three men who escaped from a maximum-security jail in Santa Ana Friday by cutting through metal, crawling through plumbing tunnels, climbing a roof and rappelling down four stories to freedom using ropes made from bedsheets.

Jonathan Tieu, 20, Bac Duong, 43, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, were all awaiting trial for violent crimes but their cases were unconnected.

The three inmates were last seen at 5 a.m. Friday at the Orange County Central Men's Jail. Their disappearance wasn't noticed until about 16 hours later when a nighttime count was conducted.

Tieu is a well-documented Vietnamese gang member who had been held on a $1 million bond since October 2013 on charges of murder, attempted murder and shooting at an inhabited dwelling.

Nayeri had been held without bond since September 2014 on charges of kidnapping, torture, aggravated mayhem and burglary.

Duong was being held without bond since last month on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm and other charges.

Sheriff's deputies have since served at least 30 warrants in the investigation into their escape.

PHOTOS: Evidence connected to inmates' escape from OC jail

As the search for the trio of inmates entered its fifth day Tuesday, O.C. Supervisor Todd Spitzer recommended that the county boost the $50,000 being offered by the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service for information leading to their capture to $200,000. The O.C. Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the increase and added $150,000.

"To even sit here and to question the underlying premise of whether we shouldn't invest every resource to bring them back into custody is a conversation I'm not willing to have," Spitzer said. "I would put up any amount that brought these people who have jeopardized victims and hurt people, and threatened people and threatened our community back into custody."

Investigators believe the three dangerous inmates may still be in the region due to their ties to local Vietnamese gangs. Authorities say both Tieu and Duong are associated with a Vietnamese gang.

"We need the Vietnamese community to come forward and help us with leads and tips on what they might know," Orange County sheriff's Lt. Dave Sawyer said Monday. "We understand that the gang involvement of at least the two individuals is pretty strong" and community members could be intimidated by the escapees.

The suspects should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on their whereabouts was urged to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department hotline at (714)628-7085. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (855) 847-6227.
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