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Homeless man will get $100K for helping catch inmates

By Shawn Price   |   Updated March 17, 2016 at 1:45 AM

SANTA ANA, Calif., March 16 (UPI) -- A San Francisco homeless man will get a $100,000 reward for helping authorities capture two of the three inmates who escaped an Orange County prison in January.

Matthew Hay-Chapman, 55, spotted escaped inmates Hossein Nayeri and Jonathan Tieu in a stolen van near a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco on Jan. 30. The Orange County Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday that Chapman should receive the largest share of the $150,000 reward.

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The board also decided Target employees Hazel Javier and Jeffrey Arana will receive $15,000 each for calling the police after spotting the inmates, and Armando Damian, the owner of the stolen van, will get $20,000.

In a surprise move, the board awarded nothing to cab driver Long Ma, who was allegedly kidnapped by the inmates, even though his lawyer made an appeal before the supervisors.

Hay-Chapman was going to McDonalds on the morning of Jan. 30 for a cup of coffee when he spotted Nayeri getting out of the stolen van in the Whole Foods parking lot. He followed Nayeri into the McDonalds. When he believed he was sure the man was the one of the escapees, he ran out of the McDonalds and flagged down a passing police car, Carrie Braun, Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesperson, told ABC News.

Nayeri, 37, Tieu, 20, and fellow inmate Bac Duong, 43, escaped from the Orange County Central Men's Jail on Jan. 22, sparking a manhunt across California. Duong turned himself in on Jan. 29 and, with Hay-Chapman's help, the other two were caught the following day.

"He is the guy who deserves the reward," Shawn Nelson, supervisor for Orange County's 4th District, told ABC News. "He was fully engaged in helping catch the bad guys."

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