One of the two men arrested last week on suspicion of robbing two pharmacies at gunpoint in Livermore has now been linked to a series of other robberies in Pleasanton, Fremont and Castro Valley, according to police.
Eric Vargas, 43, and Jesus Aguilar, 23, both of East Palo Alto, were arrested March 13 on suspicion of robbing a Rite Aid Pharmacy at 968 Murrieta Blvd. at about 10:45 a.m. that day and another Rite Aid Pharmacy at 1380 North Vasco Road at about 12:01 p.m., Livermore police said.
When officers arrived at the scene, they were advised that the suspects may have entered a silver sport utility vehicle and fled the area.
Officers later found and stopped the vehicle and arrested Vargas and Aguilar on suspicion of armed robbery, conspiracy, drugs, and weapons-related charges and enhancements, according to police.
Livermore police investigators allege that Aguilar likely committed armed robberies of other pharmacies in other cities and he's been linked so far to three robberies in Fremont which occurred on Feb. 27, March 1 and March 9.
Aguilar has also been linked to robberies in Castro Valley and Pleasanton that occurred March 13, just prior to the two Livermore robberies that day, according to police.
Just after 10 a.m, a man Pleasanton police suspect was Aguilar walked up to the CVS pharmacy counter at 6750 Bernal Ave. and showed the clerk a message on his cellphone that read, "Let's not make this difficult," according to Sgt. Larry Cox.
The man then demanded that the clerk give him some medications, including codeine. When the clerk responded that she didn't have the medication readily available, the man opened up his jacket and put his hand on an unknown object inside possibly simulating a weapon, Cox said. He then told the clerk, "Don't make this difficult."
At one point, the robber gestured behind the clerk to a shelf that had the medication he wanted and made her bring all the bottles to him. After grabbing three bottles of promethazine, he left without further incident, according to Cox.
The man in this incident never mentioned or displayed a weapon, Cox said.
While Pleasanton officers were investigating the robbery, they heard about the similar incidents that had just occurred in Livermore. They coordinated with Livermore police and ultimately found property from the Pleasanton robbery in the suspects' car.
Livermore police said officers have also recovered the gun they believe was used in the other robberies along with other evidence from the vehicle.
No arrests were made in the Pleasanton incident. Cox said Pleasanton police are wrapping up their investigation and will forward their case on to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office this week.
Cox added that police are still investigating whether Vargas is also connected to the CVS robbery, though he was not inside the pharmacy when that incident took place.
-- Updated story by staff reporter Julia Reis and Bay City News Service