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Police Search For Three Inmates Who Escaped From Maximum Security Prison

Police are searching for three inmates who escaped from a California prison last week.

According to The New York Times, authorities believe Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43, escaped from the maximum-security Orange County Central Men's Jail at some point after 5 am on Friday.

It wasn't until 9 pm that day, however, jail workers reportedly realized they were missing.

Other inmates may have staged a fight to delay the 8 pm head count.

A native of Iran, Nayeri is charged with kidnapping and torturing the owner of a marijuana dispensary in an attempt to rob him in 2012.

Nayeri is said to have cut off the victim's penis after taking him to a spot where he and three other men thought he stashed away money. He then traveled to Iran only to be captured in the Czech Republic and extradited to the US.

Duong is charged with attempted murder, while Tieu is charged with murder, in addition to attempted murder.

Tieu was the only one being held on a bond, valued at $1 million.

The three occupied a huge, dormitory-like cell they shared with over 60 men, the Associated Press reports.

Using tools they somehow obtained, they reportedly cut through a quarter-inch-thick metal screen on a wall and then half-inch steel bars to enter the plumbing tunnels, which they also cut through.

Once they found themselves in an unguarded area on the roof, the inmates apparently used ropes made of linens to get to the ground.

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens reportedly said,

Where they got those tools and how that occurred, we are still looking into that.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office, along with the FBI and the United States Marshals Services, are now searching several counties in the area for the inmates, whom Sheriff Hutchens described as likely armed and "very dangerous."

Any information leading to their capture will be rewarded with up to $50,000.

The getaway operation seems similar to Richard Matt and David Sweat's escape of an upstate New York prison last year.

Those inmates were able to cut their way to freedom, thanks to a prison worker who supplied them with power tools.

Citations: Manhunt for Three Escaped Inmates in Southern California (The New York Times), Authorities seek 3 inmates and answers about their escape (Associated Press)