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Soldier who stole armored personnel carrier sparks Virginia chase claims it was part of the training

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Police chase a soldier who stole a military vehicle in Virginia

Police chase a soldier who stole a military vehicle in Virginia for nearly two hours until the man surrendered.

The Army National Guard officer who stole an armored personnel carrier and led authorities on a 60-km chase claims he was simply following the commands of his superiors – a claim refuted by officials on Thursday.

Joshua Philip Yabut, 29, of Richmond, was on Tuesday arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and that he was entrusted with the police and the unauthorized use of a vehicle, according to Virginia State Police.

The 29-year-old is now being held against his will in Virginia Central State Hospital, a psychiatric hospital, and told the Associated Press in a phone call Wednesday evening, he was authorised to take the vehicle on a pre-planned route as part of a training to measure the response of the police.

Joshua Philip Yabut was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs in addition to charged with felony counts of which he was the police and the unauthorized use of a vehicle, police said.

(Richmond City Jail/WTVR via NNS)

Yabut told the AP his brigade-commander, which he refused to name, told him to the M577 armored personnel carrier from Fort Pickett.

The soldier also denied claims by the authorities that he was under the influence of drugs during the chase.

“That’s a big ‘NO’ with capital letters,” he told the AP.

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Police chase stolen armored personnel carrier in Virginia

A spokesman for the Virginia National Guard, A. A. “Cotton” Puryear, disputed Yabut the claim and said the officer was not authorized to drive the carrier out of Fort Pickett “to a location for a reason.”

After being stolen from Fort Pickett, state police said that the personnel carrier was driven east on Route 460 and then north on Interstate 95, with a maximum speed of approximately 40 km / h, as authorities pursued the vehicle. Yabut eventually surrendered near Richmond City Hall.

VIRGINIA POLICE CHASE STOLEN ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIER FOR MORE THAN 60 KM, SOLDIER ARRESTED

Yabut posted photos and videos to Twitter, while in the military vehicle just before the chase took place.

pic.twitter.com/cMyvBN9lVg

— Joshua [BCH] (@movrcx) 6 June 2018

A few minutes after police began the chase shortly before 8 pm, Yabut posted a picture and video of himself in what appears to be the stolen vehicle.

pic.twitter.com/ULPOKzS04n

— Joshua [BCH] (@movrcx) 6 June 2018

He wrote a series of strange tweets on Tuesday, including: “where is that damn water buffalo” “all i wanna do is an anime woman” and “wow I think I just discovered that there is a large illegal spy operation in the u.s. government.”

pic.twitter.com/yJlkzkEYrb

— Joshua [BCH] (@movrcx) June 5, 2018

where is that damn water buffalo

— Joshua [BCH] (@movrcx) June 5, 2018

The Virginia National Guard said in a press release that Yabut is a first lieutenant assigned as the commander of the Petersburg-based Headquarters Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, and has more than 11 years of service. The 29-year-old man was deployed to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009 with the Illinois National Guard.

While the vehicle was not equipped with any weapons, Yabut had his personal weapon with him, that “no ammunition”, according to the officials.

“We are very grateful there were no injuries as a result of this incident, and we appreciate the great work of the Virginia State Police, Richmond Police and other law enforcement officers and first responders who safely brought this situation to an end,” Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant-General of Virginia, said in a press release.

“We have started our own internal investigation, and we will determine the appropriate actions once the investigation is complete.”

In February, Yabut filed papers to run as an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tim Kaine, according to the AP. He is due back in court on July 11.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

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