A 19-year-old man will appear in court after stealing two police cars and taking them on joy rides of more than 100 kilometres.
The man, who was wanted by police for previous offending, was arrested in Hastings just before midnight and placed in the back of a police car in handcuffs, police said.
"When the officer got out of the patrol vehicle to move the offender to another vehicle, the offender locked the doors, climbed into the driver's seat and stole the vehicle," police said in a statement.
The man drove the car more than 100 kilometres before being stopped at the Springvale Suspension Bridge, on the Taihape-Napier Rd, 40km northeast of Taihape.
The offender was arrested without incident and placed in the second police patrol vehicle in handcuffs.
But he did it again.
"While the officer was transferring equipment from his back seat into the boot, the offender again climbed into the driver's seat and stole the vehicle."
The officer called for assistance and the stolen vehicle was spiked successfully at Te Moehau Junction soon after.
The offender fled on foot before being located and arrested a short time later.
During both incidents, the arresting officers had the vehicle keys in their possession.
Both stolen patrol vehicles were recovered and all police equipment has been accounted for.
The man will appear at Hastings District Court today.