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Lafayette, California

About Lafayette:

Lafayette is a city located in Contra Costa County, California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 23,908. (More Info and Source) Lafayette Real Estate

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Lafayette Area News

Landlord says cop-impersonator was pathological liar

San Francisco prosecutors say the crimes allegedly committed by 35 year-old Jeffrey Bugai began in November, 2008 at the El Trebor bar in the city's Mission District. Investigators said the San Francisco security guard allegedly kidnapped two Central American men while impersonating a police officer.

He was arrested July 10th and now faces felony charges including kidnapping with the intent to commit sexual assaults and is being held in San Francisco County Jail #2 on a $2.1 million bond.

"It's a very serious charge. It actually has a life sentence attached to it," said San Francisco County District Attorney's Office spokesman Alex Bastian. "This is a nightmare scenario if I've ever heard of one. You have a person who's purporting to be a law enforcement officer and he's kidnapping people, allegedly."

Bugai declined interview requests Monday and Tuesday but people who know him are stepping forward with stories of bitter legal fights and allegations of harassment.

Bugai's landlord describes him as a pathological liar. He spoke to KTVU Tuesday on the condition we not show his face or share his name.

Legal documents obtained by KTVU detail a two year-old battle over rent, repairs and alleged racism. "Put an ad out for a room for rent and you never know what you're going to get," said the landlord. "My wife's Latin-American. He sent an email saying that he condoned killing all illegal aliens. He would harass all the other tenants, like verbally."

KTVU obtained four separate requests for restraining orders filed by Bugai between October, 2007 and April, 2014. In one, he alleges homophobic slurs from a roommate in his Bayview District apartment building. At least one person has filed a restraining order against him as well. A longtime neighborhood resident described Bugai as "irrational" and said he constantly picked fights with people on the street.

The documents detail Bugai's allegations that roommates and his landlord threatened him with violence. Bugai last year filed a complaint with San Francisco's Human Rights Commission alleging his landlord harassed him based on his HIV status. The Commission ruled against Bugai in December.

The San Francisco Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board on Wednesday is set to hear Bugai's complaints against his landlord, who hopes the allegations will be dismissed.

"At one point, he wouldn't pay his rent and he told me he was gonna arrest me and I asked him 'How could you arrest me- you're not even a police officer,'" said Bugai's landlord. "We were in the process of evicting him and now he's in jail. So obviously, hopefully, he's not coming back and we'll get resolution from that."

Court documents obtained by KTVU from two Michigan cities show Bugai was prosecuted in 1998 for misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct involving coercion and in 1999 for impersonating a health care professional. A 1997 post on by a Jeffrey Bugai says he worked for the San Francisco Housing Authority and the San Francisco Police Patrol Special. Both told KTVU Monday they had no record of his hiring.

Bugai is being represented by the San Francisco Public Defender's Office. In a statement Tuesday, Deputy Public Defender Phoenix Streets said, "It is time we step back and gain some perspective in this case. The sex charge against Mr. Bugai is based on a single accusation with no corroborating evidence. At present, the vast majority of evidence I have received from the district attorney's office appears to be focused on Mr. Bugai's personality rather than the crime for which he's being charged. This leads me to believe that law enforcement is more concerned with character assassination than a search for the truth."

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:00:57 -0700

Rental scam targets vacation rentals

A new scam is targeting people looking to get a little rest and relaxation, and also a good deal.

Vacation Rentals are all over the internet but consumers should be wary of scam artists looking to cash in on unsuspecting consumers.   

Janna Weir has been renting out homes in the wine country for more than ten years.

Weir told KTVU her homes, “are advertised all over the internet VRBO, Homeaway, Craigslist, and I have my own website.”

But Weir says apparently she’s not the only one trying to rent out her properties, scammers are trying to do it too.    Two weeks ago, a family from the central coast showed up at the gates to one of her properties and met with her property manager.   He knew the home hadn’t been rented but Weir says, “they presented a rental agreement and he said I'm sorry you've been scammed, the home isn't rented and they had wired money to the Philippines.”

Last year, victims of another scammer actually ended up inside her rental home.  In that case Weir says the home was actually already rented out. 

“The unauthorized renters were actually in the home unpacking when the authorized renters arrived and that created a scene,” she said.

The problem has been  seen across the nation especially during the busy summer vacation season.   The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s office actually has someone who specifically looks for scams.  Robin Gysin told a local television station that scammers can hide the victim’s money quickly.   

“Even if you think you’re sending your money to Sacramento, the crooks can call the wire transfer service and switch it to Ivory Coast or some other place they happen to be located,” Gysin said.

And once the money is gone it can be hard to get back.

Rental owners are trying to fight back.   KTVU talked to one woman in San Francisco who put up a scam alert post on Craigslist.  She says unsuspecting victims have also shown up on her doorstep believing they had already paid to rent her home. 

Janna Weir says she posts strong warnings on all her listings, warning potential scammers that she will pursue prosecution and arrests.   She has also now fenced her properties and uses lock boxes with codes only she provides.    Weir also says she tells victims to be wary.   One of the families who showed up at her six bedroom wine country property told her they thought they got a great deal.

“Our house rents at 6600 a week and they only paid a thousand,” she said.   

She says she reminded them if it looks to be good true, it probably is.

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:30:16 -0700

CHP reviews evidence against reckless driver in fatal crash

The California Highway Patrol says its reviewing evidence against the driver of a Corvette involved in an Oakland freeway crash since a passenger in the car has died.

25-year-old Nicholas Obenchain of Alameda was pronounced dead Monday following the 3 am crash Friday on eastbound Interstate 580 at the Park Avenue exit.

The driver, 23-year-old Corey McDonah of San Leandro, was already on probation for reckless driving after he was caught on CHP aerial surveillance last April doing wheelies on the same freeway at speeds up to 120 miles per hour.

CHP officer Sean Wilkenfeld told KTVU the Corvette hit a light post near the exit and overturned. Neither man was wearing a seatbelt.

"It struck a curb, struck a light pole and overturned and came to rest where we found it," said Wilkenfeld.

The silver Corvette is a mangled mess and is being held as evidence by the CHP.

McDonah was given a field sobriety test at the scene and taken to the hospital for his injuries. 

He is already facing felony DUI charges from the crash but since his passenger was killed the CHP says the charges will become even more serious.

"We're looking at some sort of manslaughter charge at least," said Wilkenfeld.

He told KTVU it will be up to the District Attorney to determine if even more serious charges could be filed, including murder.

McDonah pleaded guilty to the reckless driving charge involving the motorcycle last May but seemed unfazed when he was asked by KTVU if he had learned any lessons after being spotted by CHP aircraft.

"Ride in the fog 'cuz planes don't see very well in the fog," he said at the time.

Officer Wilkenfeld wasn't amused.

"Statements like that are troubling to us," he told KTVU.

Marko Cruz of Alameda also owns a Corvette. He said while he never met Obenchair he had friends who knew him.

"Every Corvette's fiberglass. That's why they call them flexi flyers," he said.

Cruz said drivers of high performance vehicles need to understand they can become deadly if they're misused.

"You don't respect the car it will get the best of you," he said.

That's a lesson that was apparently lost on Mcdonah.

"He was charged in April with reckless driving," said Officer Wilkenfeld. "The goal of that was to try to change his behavior, to show him that driving is dangerous and should be taken very seriously and unfortunately he didn't take that to heart and someone has passed away."

KTVU received an email from a family friend who said Nick Obenchain's organs are being donated.

A court date for McDonah has not been set.

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:14:19 -0700

News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories

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