KEEN cyclist Olivia Pullman was devastated when her treasured bike was nicked from outside her Leith Walk flat.
After all, it was a present from her ex and she rode it everywhere – even affectionately naming it “Bichael”.
Six weeks passed with the police and a social media appeal drawing a blank so Olivia gave up hope of any reunion.
But then she was shocked to spot a lad on her trusty steed outside a Leith supermarket – and even more so when he handed it over when confronted.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Olivia, 33. “If I was five minutes earlier or later, I wouldn’t have seen him. It was just one of those sliding doors moments.”
Olivia woke one January morning to find the black and white Cube Hyde bike missing and the lock discarded on the pavement.
“I was gutted and raging, I accepted I’d never see it again,” said the freelance publicist and writer.
She reported the theft to police and appealed for help on local Facebook sites but had given up hope until a fateful visit to Tesco on Monday night.
“I literally froze on the spot in disbelief,” she said, of the moment she spied the teen on her bike waiting for his pal.
But determined to reclaim her lost ride, Olivia decided to take action – with the help of her boyfriend and a supermarket security guard.
“I approached the lad and politely told him he was sitting on my bike that was stolen and reported to police six weeks ago.
“He looked sheepish as hell and handed it over without question. He said he’d found it in the park. I was surprised he gave me it so easily, I had expected a confrontation.”
“So after six weeks, I’ve got my beloved bike back in the most bizarre and unexpected way.
“I posted this on Facebook with many people exclaiming surprise and joy at such a good ending for a bike theft. Obviously bike theft in Edinburgh is very common.
“When I called the police to update them I’d got my bike back, the police officer laughed and sounded really surprised – must be very unusual.”
“How lucky I was to go to Tesco in that small five-minute window when my bike happened to be there.
“Also how pleasantly surprised I was to be handed it back so willingly with no questions asked.”
A cycle crimewave across the Capital last year saw thefts at a three-year high across the city and thieves becoming evermore emboldened.
There were 2,000 cases reported in the nine months up to January last year with only 5 per cent of cases cleared up.
Seasoned housebreakers are understood to have switched to luxury bikes as rich pickings with lesser penalties if caught.
The shift prompted Edinburgh’s top cop to pledge a crackdown on thieves amid calls from fed-up riders for bicycle theft to be made a higher priority.
The resulting Operation Agora crackdown resulted in a number of high-profile arrests of repeat offenders.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said of Olivia’s case: “Inquiries remain ongoing in terms of identifying the person responsible for the theft.”