The Virginia National Guardsman who made headlines last year -when he stole an armored vehicle and went on a joyride- went to Iraq earlier this year- and it wasn’t a sanctioned deployment.
First Lieutenant Joshua Yabut reportedly went to Iraq in January, violating the conditions of the bond set after his June 2018 theft of an armored vehicle.
Despite being given an ankle monitoring bracelet, Yabut used his military ID to board a “Space Available” Military Air Command flight from Naval Station Norfolk around January 22, eventually ending up in Jacksonville, Florida.
Later, Yabut would fly to Charlotte, NC, before heading to Toronto, Canada, followed by Keflavik, Iceland. Stopping off in Berlin, Germany, he jetted off to Istanbul, Turkey, before making his way into Iraq on January 26.
“It’s both amazing and concerning,” said Blackstone Mayor Billy Coleburn, who lives near Fort Pickett, the training center where Yabut started his 2018 joyride. “Not only did he fly, but he took a military flight. You would think in the military alone you should be on a no-fly list.”
Yabut documented his journey on Twitter, including his time in Iraq.
While Yabut’s military ID was valid at the time of his trip, it has since been revoked.
“1LT Yabut maintained his military identification card in order to access his benefits to include potential medical care,” A.A. “Cotton” Puryear, state public affairs officer for the Virginia National Guard told WTVR. “His chain of command has since retrieved his military ID card based on his recently being charged with violating the conditions of his bond.”
Yabut’s social media footprint -as well as his internet search history- revealed that he was also sharing magazine articles that discuss how to make pressure cooker bombs and house to construct “train derailment devices.”
“I don’t think there’s any question to that, he presents a level of threat,” said Colonel Matt Bristol, a retired Staff Judge Advocate for the United States Air Force. “It’s hard to say if he’s detached from reality.”
Yabut is currently behind bars in Richmond, charged with felony eluding police. His trial date for “unauthorized use of a motor vehicle” is scheduled for May.
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