Driver arrested; 5 suspects at large after failed smash-and-grab at Spring Branch drug store

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HOUSTON — The Houston Police Department is searching for five suspected robbers after their getaway van crashed following a smash-and-grab early Thursday in the Spring Branch District, authorities said.

Investigators said a Spring Branch police officer was driving down 9400 block of Hammerly Boulevard at Blalock Road around 4 a.m. when he saw a van being purposefully smashed into the front of a CVS Pharmacy. Police said the men were attempting to steal an ATM inside the store, but the officer stopped them before they could take it.

Several of the men took off on foot and the driver of the van sped off, investigators said.

The officer followed the van to Spring Branch Street at Campbell, where the suspect lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a ditch. The only person in the van, the driver made a run for it.

According to police, a K-9 officer unit later found the driver hiding in the laundry room of a nearby apartment complex. The suspect was arrested.

Police said the van was stolen, along with a second vehicle the suspect’s left at the scene.