The suspect broke into the back of a house in South Road, Hayling Island, and took a set of car keys to a Audio Quattro S3 on the kitchen table.
A handbag was also taken.
The thief then drove the car off the driveway before returning to the property to leave an urn of ashes in the vehicle, which police say belonged to the 60-year-old victim’s late mother.
Police are now urging anyone who saw the electric blue Audi since it was stolen, which is believed to be between 10.30pm on Monday and 6.05am on Tuesday.
Investigating officer Det Con Jamie Fagan said: ‘It’s a very distinctive colour and is almost brand new.
‘Whoever broke in and stole the 60-year-old victim’s handbag went to the trouble of removing an urn of ashes from the Audi when it was stolen.
‘The ashes of the lady’s late mother were carefully left outside the back door and whoever is responsible may have returned at a different time to do this after the burglary had taken place.’
Police have also issued crime prevention advice urging people to lock all front and back doors at night when homes are empty.
UPVC doors with a multi-point lock, must be locked with a key after lifting the handle.
Anyone who saw anything suspicious or who may have seen the Audi should call Det Con Fagan at Fratton police station on 101 quoting 44160147401.