The suspect was taken into police custody around 9:40 p.m.
No injuries or crashes were reported.
As the incident unfolded, social media users posted videos and reacted with shock at the sight of an armoured vehicle with tank-style tracks being pursued by police.
The original Willys Jeep played many roles in the USA armed forces since its debut: ambulance, tow truck, mobile machine-gun mount, scout vehicle, MP patrol auto, you name it.
Yabut, 29, said he was later given the command in coded military language to conduct the exercise, which he said was aimed at gauging police response.
The police said they "traveled along with it" to Richmond.
Virginia State Police told WWBT in Richmond (starting around the 28-minute mark) that the vehicle did not have any offensive weapons and was not an actual tank.
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Witnesses said the vehicle moved up on a median, stopped, and the driver got out and started walking around.
The chase began at 7.55pm, while the vehicle wound through Virginia for over 60 miles. This is on Broad Street in the Fan.
Court documents showed Yabut lived at an apartment in Jackson Ward on 2nd Street, just north of Broad Street in downtown.
Police said charges are pending.
The vehicle has been returned to Fort Pickett with no significant damage, officials said. The M577 armored personnel carrier, the property of the Virginia National Guard, was not equipped with weaponry. The site is home to the Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center, which routinely hosts armored training events, as well as other types of drills.
CBS6 reported the alleged thief is an active-duty soldier. Fort Pickett is committed to providing premier training and quality support to our customers all year round.
The chase was relatively slow as the vehicle in question only has a top speed of around 40 miles per hour (64 km/h).
Yabut was taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence of drugs, eluding police and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia, said in a statement.