For nearly three days one of the most sluggish and conspicuous vehicles to ever occupy a paved road has managed to elude authorities in California’s Sonoma County — and leads are slim.
A California Army National Guard Humvee was reported stolen from a Santa Rosa-based armory on July 3 at approximately 10:30 p.m., California Highway Patrol officer Marcus Hawkins told Military Times.
Police responding to the location, which appears to be the home of the Guard’s 579th Engineer Battalion, arrived to find the armory’s gates smashed open and a trail of debris in the roadway, suggesting the suspect(s) rammed the gates.
The subsequent discovery of a tarp draped over an adjacent chain link fence indicated the individual(s) scaled the fence to enter the facility. There were no weapons or sensitive materials inside the green Humvee when it was taken, Hawkins added.
Approximately two hours after the vehicle was stolen, authorities received three separate calls about a reckless driver speeding near the facility with no lights on. That was the last time the vehicle was seen.
Not since Steve McQueen deftly maneuvered his 1968 Mustang GT Fastback in the ‘68 smash hit “Bullitt” has northern California seen such daring activity behind a wheel.
Initial reports suggested the grand theft moto thief may have had prior military experience.
“I believe that’s a safe assumption,” a CHP officer told ABC. “If you are not in the military, I can only imagine what it takes to start a Humvee.”
Of course, those unfortunate souls who have spent any period lingering in the sweltering heat of a motor pool know it takes practically nothing to start one, not even keys.
The July 3 incident, meanwhile, is not the first time a Humvee has been stolen from a California National Guard facility.
In another not so fast, only a little furious incident, a man received a nearly three-year prison sentence for stealing a Humvee in 2020 from the Army Reserve Center in Upland, California, and then briefly leading police on a methodical chase, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Both the California Highway Patrol and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office are involved in the search for the Santa Rosa-based Humvee.
Additionally, personnel with the FBI’s San Francisco branch said they are aware of the incident, “but at this point, the [California Highway Patrol] is the lead investigative agency.”
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media