The pensioner lost a three-figure sum of cash and several items of jewellery in the theft, which happened at around 8pm on Monday in South Beach, Troon, South Ayrshire.
The woman was uninjured but was left upset at the loss of family heirlooms.
Police Scotland said a 28-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident.
He is being held in police custody and is expected to appear at Ayr Sheriff Court.
A report will be sent to the procurator-fiscal.