A man who dressed and acted like a police officer and allegedly coerced immigrants into committing sex acts in San Francisco was arrested earlier this month, police said Monday.
Jeffrey Bugai, 35, of San Francisco, was arrested on July 10 on suspicion of kidnapping with the intent to commit sexual assaults while impersonating a police officer. Bugai entered a not guilty plea in court last week.
Bugai, who wore a fake uniform and drove a white vehicle similar to those used in law enforcement, allegedly targeted recent immigrants from Central America who had limited English-speaking skills, according to police.
He allegedly misled his victims into believing he was a police officer and brought them to his home, intoxicated them and coerced or forced them to commit sexual acts, police said.
Bugai also allegedly used handcuffs on some of his victims.
An SFPD spokesman said, sometimes, Bugai would ply his victims with drugs and alcohol.
“He also threatened the victims with deportation or retaliation by the law enforcement community if they reported it to police,” Officer Albie Esparza said.
Police said Bugai allegedly threatened his victims with deportation if they called police or would allude to potential police retaliation.
Court records show, back in 1999, Bugai was accused of dressing up as a doctor at Michigan hospital. A felony charge was dropped, but Bugai was found guilty of “unauthorized use of title as a health professional.”
Bay Area investigators are asking for anyone victimized by Bugai to report the incident to police at (415) 553-0123.
Bugai is known to frequent San Francisco's Mission and Ingleside districts and parts of Hayward and Oakland. He remains in custody on $2,170,000 bail, according to San Francisco senior sheriff's Deputy Enrique Luquin.
“Please contact San Francisco police without fear of deportation, because that will not happen,” Esparza said.
At the La Raza Community Resource Center in the Mission District, family advocates say recent immigrants are vulnerable because they feel threatened by any contact with police.
“This brings fear to people to go to the police and make a report,” La Raza’s Mabel Aguilar said.
As a result, Aguilar said, the newly arrived are easy targets. “It’s a lot of different crimes that our community is very vulnerable to,” she said.
According to court records out of Michigan, Bugai may have a history of impersonating authority figures. Court records show, in 1999, he was arrested after allegedly posing as a health care worker at a medical center in Traverse City. He reportedly was sentenced to 90 days in jail on a lesser charge.
Bugai is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on July 28.
Bay City News contributed to this report.