The man accused of stealing 11 firearms from Palmerston North police station has appeared in court.

Alan James Harris, 38, was charged with burglary and remanded in custody. He is due to appear in court again next month.

A manhunt for Harris ended early this morning, after he was identified by a member of the public.

Police are still looking for the 11 firearms - some of which were guns handed back under the Government's amnesty programme as a result of new gun laws after the Christchurch mosque attacks.


Police alleged Harris, 38, stole the firearms from the Palmerston North Police Station on Anzac Day morning.

The guns were being held as exhibits or had been handed in for destruction.

The embarrassing blunder has police minister Stuart Nash demanding answers about the alleged burglary.

When the buyback scheme was announced, he had sought assurances from police they had strong processes for handling the firearms, he said.

"I have now sought fresh assurances from the Commissioner that all stations and firearms-handling processes are secure and fit for purpose, and that firearms are stored safely, whether they are crime scene exhibits or otherwise," Nash said.

Harris was allegedly found by a member of police staff in the yard of the police station at 7.40am.

He allegedly fled in a car, which police have since recovered, along with another car owned by him.

The investigation would also require an immediate audit of security around firearms at all police stations nationwide.


Military-style semi-automatics (MSSAs) and assault rifles were banned in the urgent law change which following the shootings at two Christchurch mosques on March 15.

MSSAs and assault rifles guns are now illegal, but the amnesty is in place until the end of September.