The woman, who is in her fifties, was walking towards Harrogate town centre along Kings Road near to where it meets Grange Avenue.
A man approached her from the opposite direction and grabbed her handbag and shopping bag before running off along Grange Avenue, through an alley and towards Unity Grove. The bags contained a purse, bank cards, cash and personal items including family photos.
Police are appealing for any witnesses to the incident and anyone who can help identify the suspect to get in touch.
The suspect is described as white, around 5ft 4in and of average build and was wearing a dark coloured woolly hat and a dark coloured jacket.
Investigating officer, DC Chris Addision of Harrogate CID, said:
The victim was very shocked and shaken up by the incident, but thankfully she was not physically hurt. This is a rare occurrence in Harrogate, especially at this time of the morning.
I am appealing for anyone who was in the Kings Road and Grange Avenue are this morning and witnessed the incident, or anyone who saw a man running off along Grange Avenue and Unity Grove to contact the police.
Also, if anyone finds a discarded handbag or other personal items, please contact us immediately.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Harrogate CID on 101, select option 2 and ask for Chris Addison.
Alternatively you can give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555