CRAZY CHASE: Accused driver of tank-like vehicle is DePaul grad

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Chuck Goudie and the ABC7 I-Team are reporting that DePaul degree-holder Joshua Yabut is in custody after a wild police chase in a military vehicle. (WLS)

A soldier who was chased by police for more than 60 miles after they say he stole an armored personnel carrier from a National Guard base holds two degrees from DePaul University in Chicago, the ABC7 I-Team has learned.

Virginia state police say Joshua Philip Yabut, 29, has been charged with eluding police and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He is a former member of the Illinois National Guard and deployed with them to Afghanistan from 2008-2009.

Yabut graduated from DePaul University in Chicago in 2012 with an honors degree in information technology, according to university officials. While at DePaul he was apparently a member of the Army ROTC. In 2014 Yabut completed a master's degree program at DePaul in information technology project management.

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

Yabut is a first lieutenant and company commander of the 276th Engineer Battalion and has more than 11 years of service. He allegedly stole the personnel carrier during routine training at Fort Pickett. The vehicle wasn't equipped with any weapons, but Yabut had his personal weapon with him, apparently unloaded.

Investigators have said Yabut was under the influence of drugs when he stole the military vehicle and led police on a chase. He is being held on Wednesday afternoon without bond at the Richmond jail.

Yabut made no attempt to cover up that he was planning such an escapade. About six hours before the theft he shared a screenshot on social media of a map of Capitol Square with a pin in the Capitol building paired with the Wikipedia entry for the M113 armored personnel carrier.

During the chase he tweeted a photo and video from inside the stolen vehicle.

The photo Yabut tweeted from inside the vehicle.

He had recently filed paperwork to run as an independent for the U.S. Senate seat held by Tim Kaine, but was notified in March that his application was inadequate.

Some records indicate Yabut worked at a photo shop in Wicker Park while attending DePaul. From November 2014 to April 2017, he worked as a cyber security researcher at NASA's Langley Research Center, an agency spokesman confirmed to the Richmond Times Dispatch.

He has also been active in the cryptocurrency movement.
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