A Windsor woman is pleading for the return of four memory sticks containing photos and years worth of work that were stolen from a parking lot at a park in Mount Uniacke on Wednesday.

Christy Boutilier went for a walk along a trail in Bell Park on Wednesday. When she got back to her car, she discovered it had been broken into; her purse dumped a short distance away.

When Boutilier — a substitute teacher — found the purse, four memory sticks were missing. She said they contain photos from two years in China, as well as work from her master's course and teaching lessons.

"I felt sick. I felt, I've lost something that I can't get back," she said.

"It's not comparable to other types of losses but it is a loss. It's a lot of time, a lot of memories, a lot of work."

memory stick

Four memory sticks — containing photos from two years in China, as well as work from her master's course and teaching lessons — were gone after Boutilier's purse was stolen. (CBC)

Boutilier is pleading for the return of the memory sticks and has turned to Kijiji, offering a $100 reward on the online classifieds site. She's made arrangements so her belongings can be returned anonymously — she said she doesn't care to know who took them.

"This data is worth much more to me than to you. Today, I learned, do not leave a hunter orange purse on your car seat while walking in the park," reads Boutilier's ad.

"Today, you can learn that smashing a car window and stealing a purse will get you a reward. It must be your lucky day."

Boutilier acknowledged it was a mistake to leave her bright orange purse on the passenger seat of her car when she left for her walk.

"I usually put it under my seat or in the trunk. It was just an absent-minded moment," she said.

"I hope that someone finds it, or the person who has it decides to return it."

When it comes to losing important data, Boutilier is not alone.

"This is an all too common thing we see daily, weekly," said Tino Klironomos with PC Medic.

Klironomos recommends backing up data on another device and getting a free encryption program to stop anyone else from accessing important information.