Police have recovered a patrol car that was taken on Saturday night while an officer was conducting a traffic stop in Whangamata.
At approximately 11:30pm the passenger of a vehicle, which was stopped for speeding, took the police officer's patrol car, a police statement read.
The patrol car was subsequently located by police at approximately Sunday morning at 3.00am in Opoutere.
All firearms were still secured in a locked box in the police vehicle.
Taking a police vehicle is a serious offence, and police were following lines of enquiry to locate the offender.
Police said it was a rare and isolated incident which they would be investigating.