HOUSTON -

Some smash-and-grab crooks were nearly nabbed when an alert police officer noticed their fleeing vehicle.

Around 4 a.m. Tuesday, police said several men wearing hoods drove a white Dodge pickup truck through the front doors of the EZ Pawn shop in the 5100 block of North Shepherd.

The crooks loaded the pickup truck and a dark-colored minivan with goods, including televisions and gaming consoles, then took off, police said.

Later that morning, police said officers noticed the minivan and pickup truck speeding down Highway 290. The officers were unaware of the crime because it hadn't been reported yet, but the officers decided to follow the vehicles, police said.

The vehicles turned onto a side street, stopped, jumped out and ran, police said. Police said they set up a perimeter, but were unable to track them down.

Police said they found the stolen merchandise in the vehicles, as well as a door to the EZ Pawn shop in the back of the pickup truck.

Anyone with information is asked to give Crime Stoppers a call at 713-222-TIPS (8477).