An alleged serial thief, on the run from police for several weeks, was one of three men arrested after armed police today stormed houses in Wainuiomata, a Hutt Valley suburb north of Wellington.

Police descended on the suburb this morning after a car registered to Jeremy Gorinski, 32, was one of two vehicles reported driving dangerously about 10.30am, Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Borrell, of Lower Hutt police, said.

For several weeks police had sought Gorinski, who was linked to a series of alleged burglaries and thefts in wider Wellington, Rotorua and Taupo.

"Police wanted to locate Mr Gorinski without endangering the public, given his alleged history of dangerous driving," Mr Borrell said.

The armed offenders squad, a helicopter and other officers spent several hours trying to locate Gorinski and the other people in the two cars, before the three men were arrested about 2pm.

"We would like to thank the Wainuiomata community for their assistance and their patience today, as we closed parts of the Wainuiomata Hill Road for several hours, causing significant disruption for motorists.

"We acknowledge the inconvenience caused by police, however, when we considered all of our options, we knew that this was the safest method to locate these alleged offenders."

Armed police reportedly surrounded and entered at least two houses on Coast Rd, using battering rams at front and rear doors to enter one of the houses, before the men were taken into custody.

Gorinski and two other men, aged 31 and 35, were due to appear in Lower Hutt District Court tomorrow morning.

All Wainuiomata roads had re-opened.

- NZPA