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Soldier accused of stealing armored vehicle seemed to foreshadow plan with tweet

RICHMOND, Va. -- A soldier accused of driving off a Virginia National Guard base in an armored personnel carrier while under the influence of drugs seemed to foreshadow what he planned to do on Twitter. Joshua Philip Yabut tweeted a Wikipedia entry Tuesday about the M113 armored personnel carrier, which is similar to the M577 vehicle driven away during a routine training exercise at Fort Pickett.

He also posted a screenshot of a map around the area where the vehicle stopped hours later, after a long pursuit by police.

Then, minutes after police said they began their pursuit, Yabut posted a photo and video of himself in what appeared to be the stolen vehicle.

He also wrote a series of odd tweets Tuesday, including: "where is this damn water buffalo" and "all i wanna do is get an anime wife."

Virginia State Police said the vehicle, which is National Guard property, was driven away from Fort Pickett in Nottoway County on Tuesday evening. 

"The unit was conducting routine training at Fort Pickett when [Yabut] drove away in the armored personnel carrier," Virginia National Guard spokesperson Cotton Puryear said, CBS Richmond affiliate WTVR-TV reported.

"The vehicle was not equipped with any weapons, but the soldier did have his personal weapon with him but had no ammunition," Puryear said.

State police pursued the vehicle, which was driven at speeds that topped out at around 40 mph, according to police. A witness told WTVR he knew something was wrong when he heard the thunderous sound of the military vehicle.

"It just seemed like something out of a movie. I heard a large vehicle, it sounded like a tank, but it was moving pretty fast," Brian Wingert said.

Yabut was taken into custody in downtown Richmond just before 10 p.m. Tuesday, WTVR reported. Yabut is being held at the Richmond jail. It could not immediately be determined if he has an attorney.

Some witnesses captured the pursuit and posted videos on social media:

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

Virginia State Police are investigating.

"We are extremely grateful that there were no injuries as a result of this incident, and we appreciate the great work of the Virginia State Police, Richmond Police Department and other law enforcement and first responders who safely brought this situation to a close," Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, said, WTVR-TV reported. "We have initiated our own internal investigation, and we will determine appropriate actions once the investigation is complete."