In the early morning hours on Friday, a security camera at a California jail captured the grainy image of a figure on the roof. Sixteen hours later, officials learned that three inmates orchestrated a daring jailbreak. By Monday, the three dangerous men still hadn’t been captured.
Those criminals are Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43, three “very dangerous men” let loose in California — two of them members of Vietnamese gangs who may be embedded in that community, the Associated Press reported.
On Twitter Sunday, investigators in California released pictures of the possible escape route the inmates took during the jailbreak, the New York Times reported. The Sheriff’s Department also released video could show one of the men walking across the roof that same morning.
According to the Orange County Register, the video may depict one of the inmates getting ready to rappel down from the roof during the jailbreak, but was unknowingly filmed on a camera that was facing a nearby recreation area.
Investigators in California are developing a picture of the jailbreak, one that bears remarkable similarity to both fact (the New York jailbreak last summer), and fiction (the film Shawshank Redemption). All three men were being held in that cell, along with 60 others.
The men somehow got the necessary tools to cut through a quarter-inch-thick grill behind several bunk beds on a dorm wall, then wiggled through plumbing tunnels, the Washington Post recounted. They then cut through half-inch-thick steel bars to gain access to an unguarded part of the roof, moved aside the razor wire, and rappelled down five floors with bed sheets and prison clothes.
“We’re talking about breaching, in some places, significant amounts of steel, rebar and metal,” said spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock of the daring jailbreak.
According to the Register, it took officials 16 hours to figure out the men were missing, and another three to confirm the jailbreak. Officials said that around the time of the jailbreak, a fight broke out among other inmates, delaying their discovering of the escape. Authorities now believed the fracas was planned.
Sheriff Sandra Hutchens called the jailbreak sophisticated.
“Escapes do occur from time to time. We learn from the mistakes. I can tell you that this is a very sophisticated-looking operation. People in jail have a lot of time to sit around and think about ways to defeat our systems.”
The California jail has a history of problems with security.
At a Monday press conference, authorities announced that Tieu and Duong may still be in the area and within the large Vietnamese-American community this part of California. Officials reached out to people to warn them of the danger, since both men have gang ties.
So far, law enforcement has no evidence to suggest any of them have fled to nearby Mexico, though Nayeri may be headed to his native Iran, where he fled for several months after committing the crime that sent him to the California jail, Fox News added.
Authorities have had tips, but so far, no sightings in California or otherwise.
All three are considered very dangerous and may be armed. The men were only cellmates, and do not have a previous history together. However, separately, their past crimes are equally horrific. All three were awaiting trial.
Nayeri is facing kidnapping and torture. In 2012, he and three others allegedly kidnapped the owner of a pot dispensary, burned him with a blowtorch, and then cut off his penis. They then dumped him and his girlfriend at the side of a road in the desert.
Tieu is facing charges of murder and attempted murder. He allegedly perpetrated a gang-related killing in 2011 alongside about a dozen others arrested in connection to the murder of a 19-year-old. Scottie Bui was killed during confrontation and car chase between two Asian street gangs.
Duong is charged with attempted murder, accused of shooting a 52-year-old man in the chest; he survived and identified Duong as his shooter.
You can follow the California jailbreak with the hashtag #ocjailescape.
[Photo by Robert C. Tussey III/Shutterstock]