JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Three weeks after Jacksonville Beach resident Jennifer Ransdell had her expensive racing bike stolen, it came back to her with the help of a deputy from one county over.
“I'm on it every day. I'm usually waving and smiling to everyone, and listening to music and enjoying it. So yeah, a huge loss," Ransdell said.
She said her Cannondale bicycle is worth almost $8,000, and she couldn’t afford to replace it right away after it was taken from her 1st Street garage.
“I -- for the last three weeks -- have lost so much sleep over this bicycle," Ransdell explained.
She filed a report with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department and the local bike community helped share the word on social media, but Ransdell never thought she’d see her bike again.
Except a few days later, in the county over, a St. John’s County Sheriff's deputy spotted a transient on Ponte Vedra Boulevard.
“Knowing Cannondales -- because I used to ride a Cannondale for a police department in South Florida -- I know they’re expensive," Deputy Nathan Datsko said. "So, I asked her ‘where did you get this bicycle?’"
The woman got spooked and left the bike on a nearby road.
Then began deputy Deputy Datsko’s search for its owner.
It took a few weeks and a couple of dead ends, but he eventually figured out it was Ransdell’s bike with the help of Jacksonville Beach Police detectives.
“Thirty years of this job, you see a lot of good and bad," Datsko said. "When you see something like this come together in a short amount of time, I’m sure she was elated when they got a hold of her."
“I was like that’s my bike! I can’t believe it," Ransdell said.
Although, the St. John's Sheriffs deputy wasn’t the only one that had her back.
Ransdell is also a loyal customer of Open Road Bicycles in Avondale, and before she got her Cannondale back this week, owner Holt Tucker had already been collecting the pieces to surprise Ransdell with a brand new racing bike.