Sneha Dewani says it was a shock to return to her car parked in the Auckland CBD to find all her belongings gone - even her sun screen.

She is one of thousands of victims of theft from cars last year as the city saw a 14 per cent rise in overall theft.

Mrs Dewani said she had parked at a public parking building near SkyCity for the day, leaving the car about 8am and returning at 6pm. Everything was taken.

"They didn't break the windows but the key hole had been damaged," she said. "We had an alarm system but I don't know what happened. They just broke open the main door."

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She said she might have forgotten to put away her GPS system before leaving the car, and this might have attracted the thief. The offender had walked away with everything, including sun screen and a Plunket book.

It had been a shock to become a victim to a crime in such a public place in downtown Auckland, she said.

She has changed carparks, but still feels worried. "We're really scared."