Talk about a spectacular joyride: in scenes that drew comparisons with the anarchic Grand Theft Auto videogame series, the vehicle tore through streets, ignoring traffic signals – and the screaming sirens in hot pursuit.
Cops in the eastern state of Virginia were unable to deploy the stingers that might normally be laid out across the roads to burst a stolen car’s tyres.
Instead, they raced along behind the sand-coloured all-terrain vehicle, whose caterpillar tracks were carrying it at speeds of up to 40 miles (65 kilometres) per hour.
“This is INSANE!” wrote Twitter-user @ParkerSlay89, posting a video of the chase.
This is INSANE! Someone has hijacked a “Tank-like” vehicle from Fort Pickett and just drove it by our apartment! This is on Broad Street in the Fan. pic.twitter.com/EYfhFux1dk
— Parker Slaybaugh (@ParkerSlay89) June 6, 2018
“Someone has hijacked a ‘Tank-like’ vehicle from Fort Pickett and just drove it by our apartment!”
Kayleigh, a bystander, told local TV network WWBT: “Honestly, it kinda reminds me of the Grand Theft Auto games where the tanks drive just in the middle of the city, it’s surreal.”
The wildly successful Grand Theft Auto series is an open-world video game in which players create mayhem across an urban landscape, stealing vehicles and committing crimes.
Virginia State Police Sergeant Keeli Hill told reporters the APC, which was not equipped with any weapons, had been boosted from a Virginia National Guard base and driven along a major road to the state capital, Richmond.
During the pursuit, officers closed exit ramps on the highway, Hill said, adding the soldier eventually stopped the vehicle and surrendered.
High-speed police chases are a regular feature of US news networks, many of which dispatch helicopters to give their audience a bird’s-eye view of the action.