Mounties near Cochrane, Alta., were conducting an impaired driving investigation Saturday night and arrested a suspect, putting him in the back of their police car.
The officers then walked away to deal with other people and watched as someone drove the cruiser away.
RCMP say the cruiser did not contain any police service weapons at the time.
Lorenzo Bearspaw, who is 25, of the Stoney First Nation was arrested in Calgary on Tuesday.
He faces charges of theft of a motor vehicle, impaired driving and escaping lawful custody.
The vehicle was last seen north of the Stoney Casino, travelling northbound on Highway 1X into an undeveloped area.