comscore Soldier in stolen armored vehicle leads Virginia police on chase before arrest | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Soldier in stolen armored vehicle leads Virginia police on chase before arrest

  • GRACE HOLLARS/RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Emergency personnel surrounded a National Guard military vehicle, Tuesday, stolen from Fort Pickett, Nottoway County, Va. Police in Virginia said they arrested a soldier who stole the armored personnel carrier after chasing him for more than 60 miles.

RICHMOND, Va. >> A soldier accused of stealing an armored personnel carrier from a National Guard base and leading police on a more than 60-mile chase was driving under the influence of drugs, Virginia State Police said today.

Joshua Philip Yabut, 29, of Richmond, was charged with eluding police and unauthorized use of a vehicle, the Virginia National Guard said in a news release.

The vehicle, which drives on tracks like a tank, was stolen Tuesday evening from Fort Pickett in Blackstone. Police chased it for about two hours at speeds as high as 40 mph before the driver stopped and surrendered near Richmond City Hall, state police said.

The Guard said the personnel carrier was stolen during routine training at Fort Pickett and has been returned to the base in Blackstone. The vehicle wasn’t equipped with any weapons, but Yabut had his personal weapon with him without any ammunition, the Guard said.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and declined to comment on a motive for stealing the vehicle, but said Yabut was under the influence of drugs when he was arrested.

The Guard said Yabut is a first lieutenant assigned as company commander of the 276th Engineer Battalion and has more than 11 years of service. He deployed to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009 with the Illinois National Guard.

Michael Finneran, a spokesman for the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, said Yabut worked there in a civilian job in the office of the chief information officer from 2014-2017.

Yabut seemed to foreshadow the theft and chase in Twitter posts Tuesday. Hours before the vehicle drove off the base, an account confirmed by the Guard as Yabut’s tweeted a Wikipedia entry about the M113 armored personnel carrier, which is similar to the M577 vehicle police chased, and a screenshot of a map around the area where the vehicle eventually stopped.

Minutes after police began their pursuit shortly before 8 p.m., Yabut posted a photo and video of himself in what appears to be the stolen vehicle.

He wrote a series of odd tweets Tuesday, including: “where is this damn water buffalo” ”all i wanna do is get an anime wife” and “wow I think I just discovered a large illegal spy operation in the us government.”

Yabut is being held at the Richmond jail. It could not immediately be determined if he has an attorney.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (1)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up