A 21-year-old Santa Monica man who used to attend UC Berkeley has been charged with stalking two fellow students — choking one of them at a Cal fraternity in 2018 and, more recently, telling her repeatedly he wanted to rape her, according to court documents.
Police arrested Yahn Bruggeman last week at Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way after the woman he allegedly choked saw him near the UC Berkeley campus, though he is no longer attending classes and does not live locally, the woman told police.
According to UC Berkeley, Bruggeman began his undergraduate year there in fall 2016. According to campus records, he is currently enrolled at Cal. No information was available as of publication time regarding whether Bruggeman has attended any classes this semester, but he was staying at the Super 8 motel on University Avenue at the time of his arrest, according to court papers.
According to police, Bruggeman and the young woman — who is not named in public records due to the sensitive nature of the allegations — became friends in fall 2017 as UC Berkeley students. He tried to kiss her repeatedly and asked her out on dates, but she told Bruggeman she wanted to keep it platonic, police wrote.
On Feb. 11, 2018, according to court documents, the woman and Bruggeman were watching a movie at his fraternity when he asked her if she liked to be choked. She told him the question made her uncomfortable and that it wasn’t a topic for them to discuss. Not long afterward, police wrote, Bruggeman approached the woman, put his hands around her neck and choked her until she couldn’t breathe. He put his body across hers so she couldn’t move, and slapped her face multiple times, according to police.
Bruggeman choked and slapped the woman again, police wrote, while she told him “no.” When he fell asleep a short time later, she was able to leave the fraternity. She told Bruggeman not to contact her again, according to authorities.
In August of this year, according to police, Bruggeman called the woman and told her he was in love with her. He said he was coming to Berkeley to see her, police wrote. She blocked his number after getting that call.
About three weeks later, Bruggeman texted the woman multiple times from a different number, identifying himself as a rapist and writing, among other things, “it’s difficult for people to understand the struggles of being a rapist in today’s day and age,” according to police.
The woman told Bruggeman she would seek a restraining order if he did not leave her alone. But he continued to send her messages that threatened violence, police said.
After seeing Bruggeman in the Southside neighborhood last week Thursday, Sept. 12, the woman reported him to the Berkeley Police Department. BPD officers arrested him that day just before 4:45 p.m.
In a Mirandized statement, Bruggeman said he’d only met the woman once, according to BPD. The phone numbers he provided during the police interview were the ones that had been used to text the woman, according to court papers. Police served Bruggeman with an emergency protective order to keep him away from the woman.
As the investigation continued, BPD also learned about unwanted attention he’d given to a male student — a former friend of Bruggeman’s — who also attends UC Berkeley, according to court documents. The two had met when they were younger in Southern California, police wrote.
When they were Cal freshman, Bruggeman began periodically touching the other man even though “he did not want to be touched,” police wrote. Bruggeman also told his then-friend that “he was the only person he thought about and the only person he loved.”
In December 2018, according to police, after seeing the other man “play fighting over a remote” with another person, Bruggeman pinned his former friend down and began “grinding” on him in a sexual manner. After that, the two men didn’t interact again until March, when the man texted Bruggeman to say he wanted no further contact.
According to police, Bruggeman “would stalk the victim on a consistent basis” over the next few months, showing up at his classes and his work, as well as the man’s homes in Southern California and Berkeley. Bruggeman continued to text the man to declare his love, police wrote. Bruggeman also told the man, in a phone call, he “just wanted to be cuddly and loving” with him, according to court papers.
Bruggeman’s arrest in Berkeley last week wasn’t his first brush with the legal system. He was also arrested in the city in September 2017 after a BPD officer stopped him as he went about 40 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to court records. He told the officer he had taken ecstasy at a concert and “made several comments about being high,” according to court papers. He was charged with misdemeanor DUI, entered a no-contest plea and was sentenced to probation through September 2020.
Now, Bruggeman is facing four felony charges: assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury for the choking incident, stalking Jane Doe until Aug. 30, 2019, and making terrorist threats against her; and one count of stalking against John Doe from March 1-Sept. 12.
According to his LinkedIn and Facebook pages, Bruggeman was at one time studying cognitive science at Cal, with an expected graduation date in 2020. He went to Santa Monica High School.
While he was in high school, Bruggeman appeared in a popular Los Angeles-based reality TV series on YouTube called “SummerBreak.”
“I’m a little bit of a ladies man on occasion,” he said, in a video biography that was created for the show. “I don’t like to talk about it. If you got it you don’t flaunt it. Right?” The bio alone has 211,077 views.
According to his IMDB page, Bruggeman appeared in five episodes of the show, in 2015 and 2016, including “The group chat”, where he goes indoor skydiving; “If you can’t handle the heat,” where he goes go-kart racing; and “Let’s get it,” where he offers advice to a female friend, via video chat, while he attended the Summer@Brown program.
According to court records, Bruggeman’s bail was originally $250,000, but his attorney successfully argued Monday to have it reduced to $100,000. Bruggeman is no longer in custody. There was no information about how his bond was paid in his court file as of Thursday.
Bruggeman waived formal arraignment Monday and entered a not guilty plea, according to court papers.
On Tuesday, he was placed, as part of the court process, on GPS monitoring by the Oakland-based company Leaders in Community Alternatives, or LCA.
Bruggeman was then slated to report to Aurora Las Encinas Hospital, a mental hospital in Pasadena, for a 30-day stay, followed by further monitoring at Pasadena Treatment Center until he is “medically cleared,” according to court papers.
Bruggeman’s next court date, a progress report, is scheduled for Oct. 22 at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.
[Editor’s note: Berkeleyside removed some details from this story after publication due to their graphic nature.]