Precious family photos have been stolen from a car that was broken into while a family with a sick child was taking an afternoon dip at a popular Auckland city beach.

Devastated mum Storm Baynes-Ryan is appealing to whoever took their belongings in a brazen daylight theft just off a busy Auckland waterfront road on Monday to hand back a laptop that stored her irreplaceable family snaps.

The Gisborne mother said the family of five had stopped at Okahu Bay for a swim when robbers smashed windows of the family's Toyota Highlander before making off with bags, wallets, a smart phone and laptop left inside the vehicle.

The family had travelled to Auckland for an MRI and CT scan for their 5-year-old son Clancy, who suffers from a rare form of audible tinnitus.


Mrs Baynes-Ryan said the theft had caused her children an incredible amount of heartache, turning a lovely outing into a nightmare.

"Clancy was really sad," she said. "He cried for quite a bit. Everybody's been a bit clingy and a bit sad and shaken.

"My 3-year-old daughter Aurelia is a bit upset because inside her bag were her 'babies', her cuddly toys that she's had since she was small that she uses to go to bed with, so she's really sad that they're gone."

Mrs Baynes-Ryan said the thieves had also taken a book containing hand-written notes for a shearing app business plan due to be launched in a fortnight.

The theft had left her stunned.

"I feel sorry for them, I guess. You've got no morals if you see three car seats in a car and still decide to take all those belongings. There must be something really wrong," Mrs Baynes-Ryan said.

"I feel sad for my children. And I also feel a bit silly because I hadn't uploaded all my photographs from when the children were small. I've just started a new business and I haven't saved all my blogs I was about to publish and my business plan."

She hoped those responsible would leave the laptop and phones, which were protected by locks, outside a police station

"If I can get my photographs back, I don't even want the computer back, even my photographs off my phone that's all I want really. The rest of it is replaceable. My family are safe and healthy and it's only stuff. To get those back would be marvellous. And if we could get back the 'babies' and my business plan back that would be amazing too."

Police were contacted but no officers attended as there were no witnesses.

So far just two bank cards had been recovered from neighbouring streets.