Police received a call at around 6:50 p.m. from a relative of the missing children who said the children, ages 3, 5 and 7, were safely in her custody at Howarth Park, police said.
A third party had received the children from the father and brought them to the relative, according to police.
"We got the kids back safely," police Lt. Steve Bair said.
At around the same time that officers were responding to the relative's call, police received a tip from a guest at a Motel 6 on Cleveland Street who told them that the father, Jose Alberto Rojo, 25, of Santa Rosa was in the motel's parking lot.
Police arrested Rojo in the parking lot without incident, Bair said.
Rojo is facing charges of parental abduction and violating a restraining order, Bair said.
The incident began around 11 a.m. today at the Lemus Insurance office in a shopping center at 1791 Marlow Road in west Santa Rosa, Sgt. John Snetsinger said.
Rojo tried to get his estranged wife to exit the locked business, and when she refused, he left but returned with the couple's three daughters, Snetsinger said.
Rojo again tried to get his wife to speak to him, and when she again refused, Rojo returned with the children to his 4-door Chevrolet Tahoe, told his estranged wife he was going to harm himself and she would never see the children again, Snetsinger said.
Rojo then rammed the doors of the business with the Tahoe and drove south on Marlow Road with the children, Snetsinger said.
The California Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert around 2 p.m.
Maria Lemus, the owner of the insurance company, said her daughter Selina Rojo filed divorce papers today against Rojo, also known as Jose Alberto Bojorquez-Rojo.
She said Rojo first tried to get into the locked insurance company office by throwing carts at the front door.
Lemus said one of her employees said Rojo appeared to have a can of mace.
"He (Rojo) kidnapped my daughter once before. He was on trial for spousal abuse," Lemus said.
Lemus said there is a restraining order against Rojo and the couple is separated.
Bair said Rojo has a history of domestic violence and there is a criminal protective order against him.