When Emily Olmstead, a cancer nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, returned to her car after a 7 a.m.-to-7 p.m. shift on July 14, she was shocked to find that the back window of her hatchback had been smashed, and her bicycle was gone.
The 49-year-old Amesbury resident burst into tears.
“I was so devastated,” she said.
Olmstead has been training for the Pan-Mass Challenge to raise money for cancer treatment and research. This will be her eighth year doing the ride, and given her line of work, the fund-raiser is “a big deal for me,” she said.
“I love the bike so much, it fits me like a glove,” she said.
Olmstead said she immediately reported the theft to police. That weekend, she found her bike listed for sale on Craigslist. She looked at the photo, and there it was: her beloved black-and-white Cannondale SuperSix with a carbon frame and her Pan-Mass Challenge bike bag still attached to it.
“I was outraged,” she said.
She told her Pan-Mass Challenge team, the Riverside Rockets, and they decided to try to get her bike back. One teammate and another teammate’s father each contacted the Craigslist seller asking to buy the bike.
The seller suggested meeting in Everett to close the deal, Olmstead relayed that information to the Everett Police. She said when the seller arrived at the meeting spot on Wednesday to close the sale, he was met by an undercover police officer instead. Olmstead said she was ecstatic to learn that police had recovered her bike.
“By the next morning I was out with my best biking buddy again,” said Olmstead, who will be riding it from Sturbridge to Provincetown on Aug. 6. You can donate to her PMC page here .