A homeless man will be given $100,000 of a $150,000 reward by the Orange County Board of Supervisors for aiding the capture of two county inmates who had escaped from prison.
On the morning of January 30, Matthew Hay-Chapman noticed a stolen white van that he had read about in the newspaper while he was walking from the Whole Foods to the McDonald’s in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said.
According to ABC News, the inmates – Hossein Nayeri and Jonathan Tieu – had escaped from the Orange County Central Men’s Jail on January 22. Along with them was a third inmate, Bac Duong, who had also escaped. While Duong had turned himself in on January 29, Nayeri and Tieu were arrested the next day.
Speaking with ABC7 News last month, Hay-Chapman said that he would like to start a new life if he won the money. He also said he would help his children who had endured tough times. Receiving the large sum of money has changed Hay-Chapman’s life. Shawn Nelson, supervisor for Orange County’s 4th District, said, “[Hay-Chapman] is the guy who deserves the reward. He was fully engaged in helping catch the bad guys.”
The reward of $150,000 will be distributed among four people. In addition to Hay-Chapman, two workers at Target in Rosemead, Hazel Javier and Jeffrey Arana, who called the police after spotting the three inmates, will receive $15,000 each; and the owner of the stolen van who gave the police information about the vehicle will receive $20,000.
As reported by CBS News, the cab driver, Long Ma, who was held hostage for a week by the inmates, will not receive any reward, as he did not provide the police any information that could lead to their capture. However, Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer said he would fight to have Ma compensated. “He’s between a rock and a hard place,” Spitzer said. “I feel terrible. I’ll sit with him in the legislature and beg the legislature to revoke that law because that’s a bad law.”
Another $50,000 of reward – $30,000 from the FBI and $20,000 from the US Marshals’ office – will also be distributed. It has not been made clear yet who will receive how much.