A car thief drove the wrong way down an Auckland motorway this morning, crashed, then nicked a second car in an attempt to evade police.

Police noticed the suspected stolen vehicle on Robertson Rd in Māngere about 7.35am, and gave chase when the driver failed to stop, a spokeswoman said.

"Police followed the vehicle, however it entered the motorway at Walmsley Rd travelling north in southbound lanes and the pursuit was immediately abandoned,"

The Police Eagle helicopter continued tracking the car, which crashed about 100m from the off-ramp.

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Then the brazen offender stole another set of wheels and continued north along the motorway - this time on the correct side.

The driver exited the motorway at Wellesley St in the CBD and headed for Alten Rd, before abandoning the vehicle in an underground carpark on Eden Crescent.

A man was found in a stairwell in a property nearby and was taken into custody without incident, the spokeswoman said.

The 22-year-old is schdeuled to appear in Manukau Disrict Court tomorrow on charges including reckless driving, failing to stop and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.