Vagrant Sees Men Acting Strangely, Takes Swift Action

| by Reve Fisher
Matthew Hay-Chapman at McDonald'sMatthew Hay-Chapman at McDonald's

A California homeless man will receive a $100,000 reward for his role in capturing inmates who escaped from a maximum security prison.

Matthew Hay-Chapman from San Francisco will receive most of the $150,000 reward for assisting the Orange County Sheriff’s Department capture two fugitives who had escaped from custody.

According to CNN, Hossein Nayeri, Jonathan Tieu, and Bac Tien Duong escaped from Orange County's Central Men's Jail on Jan. 22, 2016 -- the first escape from the prison since 1988.

Hay-Chapman, an avid newspaper reader, recognized Nayeri, who had just exited a stolen van and was on his way to get a McDonald’s coffee.

“Boom, this guy pops out of the van,” Hay-Chapman recalled, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I had seen him in the news. I said, ‘That’s the guy — that’s the Iranian escapee!’”

Hay-Chapman observed Nayeri from a table at the restaurant.

“I knew I had time,” Hay-Chapman said. “I studied the man ... because I wanted to be 100 percent sure before I go and alert the authorities.”

After he was sure that Nayeri was the escaped inmate, he went to get the police. On his way to the station, he saw a patrol car and alerted the officers.

"I'm [ ... ] flagging him down, like right there, you know?" Hay-Chapman recalled to KGO-TV News. "And I point and he sees me. He's across the street, directly across the street. And [I gesture] cause I'm right behind holding my cane like this. Body language, boom! That's the guy!"

Officers followed Nayeri, who inadvertently ran toward the police station. Hay-Chapman also led police to the stolen van, which was parked with Jonathon Tieu still waiting inside.  

“God bless him for having courage and for being that observant and that sharp,” Police Chief Greg Suhr said of Hay-Chapman. “[…] he makes the neighborhood safer.”

Hay-Chapman said the reward played no factor in his willingness to help, as he was just “doing the right thing.”

“He is really a straight-up guy,” said a friend, who asked to remain anonymous. “He is a guy who is into doing good things for people even though he is homeless. He did what he was supposed to do, what people are asked to do. That money would help him straighten his life out.”

Sources: CNN, KGO-TV News, San Francisco Chronicle / Photo credit: San Francisco Chronicle

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