A Rotorua hair salon has been left without most of its hairdressing gear after thieves stole it from a car following a charity event.

Salon St Bruno owner Hilda Dufty said the theft happened after her staff had finished doing hair for the contestants at Saturday night's Harcourts Dancing with the Stars - which they did free to support the Rotorua Hospice.

"It was pretty gutting when you have just done something for charity," she said.

The gear was in the boot of Mrs Dufty's van on Rangiuru St between 7.15pm and 8.45pm while she and her daughter had dinner at nearby Eat Streat.

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While they didn't notice anything afoot when they returned to the car, the next morning they discovered all the gear, along with Mrs Dufty's laptop, gift bags that had been prepared for the Canter for Cancer charity and other personal items were gone.

Further investigation found the van's back door had been jimmied open with a screwdriver.

Most of the salon's GHD straighteners, hairdryers, curling irons and wands were taken along with hairdressers' kits containing scissors, capes, combs - "basically the whole shebang".

Mrs Dufty also runs a pet cremation business and a suitcase containing empty urns was stolen. However, the thieves left behind a full pet urn that had a memorium note attached.

Mrs Dufty estimated the value of the stolen hairdressing items at $6000 to $8000, although she was still working her way through old receipts for insurance purposes.

She said they had been forced to pull out old, heavy hairdryers to use and share what other equipment they had left this week until the insurance claim could be processed.

About a month ago the front door panel of the salon, on the corner of Hinemoa and Tutanekai Streets, was smashed and thieves stole hair products.

The two thefts combined had cost about $7000 in insurance excess, Mrs Dufty said, but that's wasn't the only cost to the business.

"I've spent hours and hours this week trying to get it all sorted ... everyone is pretty gutted."

Mrs Dufty had reported the latest theft to police who were investigating.

Police had recommended she use a special marker pen on equipment going forward so that if stolen equipment was recovered it could be linked back to the business.

Mrs Dufty has taken up that advice and encourages others to do the same.

"It's the only way that we can narrow down and pinpoint those people to a particular burglary."

Anyone who may have been offered hairdressing equipment or know anything about the theft can contact Rotorua police on (07) 349 9400.