A New York janitor found himself holding a policeman's gun when the officer needed a free hand to handcuff a suspect.

The handoff happened at the end of a wild chase through Manhattan on Friday.

Police spent an hour trying to collar a motorist who struck a taxi and a jogger, then fled on foot after hitting a van.

Police say the suspect slipped into a basement and tried to disguise himself as a janitor when the real maintenance man spotted him and went for help.

The officer who responded was trying to cuff the suspect with his gun drawn when the weapon wound up in hands of janitor Placido Contreras.

Contreras tells the New York Post he only held the gun for a moment.

An NYPD spokesman praised the officer for "adapting."