Theft strikes 'sour note' for tourist
An American tourist who had all her belongings stolen from a Christchurch car park is "surprised someone would be so brazen".
Eliza Parsons, 26, has been travelling around Samoa and New Zealand for the last five weeks and arrived in Christchurch on Saturday to spend time with her friend before returning home.
But yesterday Parsons returned from a walk at Sign of the Takahe to find her friend's car had been broken into and all her belongings taken, including her passport, wallet, iPhone, journal and camera.
"We came back and at first we didn't realise anything had happened - there weren't any smashed windows or signs of being broken into. My friend was like 'Didn't I bring my handbag?' and we had a search around. It was a slow and awful realisation that everything was gone," she said.
"I'm just really surprised someone would be so brazen. There were heaps of people and cars there - we actually struggled to get a park - and it was a busy street."
Fortunately, police located the passport this morning and returned it to Parsons.
"I'm flying out on Monday so that's a great relief to have that back. I'd already booked an appointment at the embassy in Auckland to get a new passport; you have to go up to Auckland to get a new one. I was actually surprised they ditched the passport, but I'm really glad they did."
However, Parsons was most upset that her camera with all of her photos, the only memento she had of her trip, had been lost.
"My camera had all my photos of the whole trip on it and I've been keeping the journal of my travels since February. You can't replace photos and I'm sad I won't get to go home and show all my friends and family my amazing trip."
The theft had ended her trip on a "sour note", Parsons said.
"I'm really bummed that this happened in the last week. I travel a lot and this has never happened to me before. It's not what you expect and it is really upsetting. I still love New Zealand though."
Parsons had planned to hire a car and drive down to the Milford Sounds this week, but couldn't without her drivers licence and was considering returning home early.
"I could try taking a bus or something but I'm also looking at going home on an earlier flight. It's disrupted all my plans and I'm just trying to figure it out. I have travel insurance so I can see what they can do as well."
The police had been "fantastic" in dealing with the case, she said.
"They've been great, sending me updates by email. One even apologised on behalf of Christchurch and said he hoped it hadn't ruined my trip."
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- The Press