The night before the Fourth of July, someone broke into the Santa Rosa National Guard Armory in northern California.The thief managed to get into a Humvee and get it going, crashing through a gate to get out. Beyond a few sightings in the region, the stolen Humvee vanished.
Until this week.
California Highway Patrol, along with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office captured the car after a car chase on Tuesday, Nov. 14. It started early in the morning, just before 7 a.m. with a call to the Sheriff’s Office about a man in a camouflage Humvee. The driver, 34-year-old Anthony Stabile, allegedly fired a handgun at a utility truck in Sonoma County and drove off.
“Deputies responded and CHP was contacted to help search for the suspect. CHP officers found Stabile driving the Humvee eastbound on Bodega Highway, just outside Sebastopol,” California Highway Patrol said in a statement. “They followed him until it was safe to pull him over in the 900 block of Highway 116. Stabile refused to pull over and started a pursuit.”
Law enforcement chased after the Humvee. The stolen car ran over spike strips set up by the Petaluma Police Department, puncturing the tires but not stopping the driver. Stabile tried his best Dominic Toretto car tricks, but they did not work, at least at first. The Humvee kept going, until the tires fully deflated and handling became near impossible. The Fast and the Furious: Petaluma Drift soon ended and Stabile surrendered to authorities without a struggle.
The Humvee was initially reported missing late at night on July 3 from the Santa Rosa National Guard Armory. The car did not have any weapons or ammunition in it when it was stolen. The Santa Rosa theft was the third incident involving someone stealing or trying to steal a Humvee from a military unit or installation in California in the last four years.
After the car chase through Sonoma County, Stabile was arrested and booked. He already had two outstanding warrants for misdemeanors. In addition, he was charged with several felonies for Tuesday’s events: “loaded firearm in public, shooting at an unoccupied vehicle, firing a gun from a vehicle, vandalism, unlawful possession of a gun, a loaded unregistered gun, vehicle theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, and evading,” CHP said.
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Photos shared by California Highway Patrol show the car in mostly good condition. Personal belongings are littered throughout the interior.
Despite the extremely recognizable appearance of the military vehicle and the Humvee’s limited fuel efficiency, law enforcement failed to locate the car. In the days following the theft, there were reports of the Humvee throughout Sonoma County and the Sacramento area, often without its lights on. Those reports dropped off after July; where the car has been or how it was refueled without suspicion since remains a mystery.
It’s also not immediately clear if Stabile is the person who stole the Humvee back in July, or what happened with it in the intervening months. Although Stabile was charged with a litany of crimes, they don’t include the theft on July 3. No one has been charged for that yet. The Humvee itself was returned to the National Guard.
Stabile is being held on roughly $1,021,000 bail.
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