Bob Redell

Police Arrest Two Men in Connection With Armed Theft of 3,200 Prescription Drugs from Burlingame Walgreens

Two men, one of whom threatened a pharmacy technician with a knife, were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stealing nearly 3,200 prescription sedatives and painkillers from a Burlingame Walgreens, police said. 

According to a statement from the Burlingame Police Department, a stolen car led Hayward police to Phoenix Lodge where they located two men and a plethora of prescription drugs. Elias Solis, 21, of Redwood City, and Esteban Landa, 21, who previously lived in East Palo Alto and Sunnyvale but is now believed to be a transient, confessed to robbing a Walgreens at 260 El Camino Real.

Landa initially lied to officers about his identity and said his name was Brayan Pinon, police said.  

Surveillance footage shows the two men entering the store just after midnight, police said. One suspect jumped over the pharmacy counter and pulled a knife on a technician.

The technician stayed on the ground while the man pillaged the pharmacy for Xanax and Hydrocodone, police said.

Solis and Pinon, toting an estimated 3,200 pills, fled in a black compact vehicle, police said. It remains unclear whether this was the stolen car that helped Hayward police nab the suspects. 

The drugs could fetch around $20 per pill on the black market, according to police. 

"It’s believed to be a Schedule 3 or 4 narcotic – it's very serious," Burlingame police Lt. Jay Kiely said. "It has properties, as far as the effects, similar to heroin. It's a very strong drug and because it's so strong, it has very addictive properties, which is why people resort to robberies and other such violent crimes to sustain their addictions."

According to Walgreens officials, the technician is doing OK. Police say it has been between 18 and 24 months since a Burlingame pharmacy has experienced this kind of drug-related robbery. 

Anyone with any information on the case is being requested to contact the Burlingame Police Department at (650) 777-4100.

NBC Bay Area's Riya Bhattacharjee contributed to this report. 

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