(NEW YORK) — One homeless man may have a roof over his head very soon after receiving $100,000 of a $150,000 reward from the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday for helping arrest two of three escaped county inmates.
Matthew Hay-Chapman was walking from the Whole Foods over to the McDonald’s in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, California, the morning of Jan. 30 when he spotted a stolen white van that looked like one he read about in the newspaper, Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, told ABC News today.
Three inmates — Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43 — escaped from the Orange County Central Men’s Jail on Jan. 22, prompting a statewide manhunt.
Duong eventually turned himself in on Jan. 29, while the other two were caught the next day, thanks to Hay-Chapman.
Hay-Chapman saw one of the escaped inmates, Nayeri, exit the van, which was parked by Whole Foods, and walk into the nearby McDonald’s, Braun said. Hay-Chapman followed the man inside. When he realized the man was the escaped inmate, he ran out a side door and flagged down a passing patrol car.
The entire reward of $150,000 was divided up among four people altogether. Two Target employees — Hazel Javier and Jeffrey Arana, who called police after spotting the inmates — received $15,000, while Armando Damien, the man who reported to police that his white van was stolen, received $20,000.
Long Ma, a cab driver who was taken hostage by the three men, did not receive a share of the money.
Braun explained that the police department provided information to the Board of Supervisors about what “actionable intelligence” they received that helped them locate and arrest the inmates. The Board of Supervisors then decided how to distribute the reward money based on the information provided.
There is another $50,000 of reward money that still needs to be distributed, according to Braun. The FBI is giving $30,000 and the U.S. Marshals’ office is giving the other $20,000. They have yet to decide how to distribute the money and to whom.
Hay-Chapman’s life has been changed forever by the substantial reward. “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.”
Hay-Chapman declined to comment to ABC News.
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