Police are appealing for information about a burglary which took place in New Street, Dunmow, between midnight and 7.30am on Monday, July 21.
A Hewlett Packard laptop and bag, a wallet and a purse containing £50 in cash and four bottles of wine were stolen.
The victims asked not to be identified but said: "Most upsetting for us is that pictures of our late parents which were in our wallet and purse were taken and we would dearly love to get those back."
Police believe the thieves used an alleyway which runs behind homes in New Street and New Street Fields to get into the property.
DC Nick Campbell said: "It would appear they tried a number of back gates leading on to the alleyway and if any were insecure they then entered gardens and tried the windows and doors of the homes.
"Eventually they got lucky and found an unlocked window.
"I would like to remind householders that even with the current hot weather you should make sure that all windows and doors that can be easily accessed from outside are secured at nights to reduce the chances of thieves getting into your homes.
"Unfortunately burglars do not care about the impact of their crimes and will exploit any opportunity to get into properties.”
Anyone with information can call Braintree Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.