Police wish to speak with this man.

Police wish to speak with this man. Photo: Supplied

A thief has taken off with an international student's study notes after breaking into her room at a Carlton student accommodation building.

Police say the 21-year-old student left her room at the Swanston Street building about 6.40pm last Thursday to go to a communal kitchen.

The woman returned a short time later to find a handbag containing credit cards, cash and her US passport, as well as a mobile phone and a tablet computer had been stolen.

The student left her room and had a brief conversation with a man in the lift foyer, who police believe may have been involved in the theft.

The man told the victim he had seen the burglar in her room, and then took the lift with her to exit the building.

The man is described as white, in his mid to late 20s, with short brown hair, about 180 to 185 centimetres tall and of a solid build. He has a small tattoo on his left forearm.

Police have asked anyone who witnessed the incident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 00 or at crimestoppers.com.au.