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Bumbling thieves tossed priceless necklace

ROSCOMMON, Ireland, March 27 (UPI) -- Two incompetent thieves who threw priceless 4,000-year-old Irish jewelry into a dumpster have received suspended sentences for the crime.

Robert Dempsey and Anthony Dowling, both Dublin residents, were given consideration because they helped police locate the national treasures, The Irish Times reported.

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Dempsey and Dowling broke into Sheehan's Pharmacy in Strokestown in County Roscommon in 2009 and stole a safe, apparently believing it held drugs. Instead, the safe held cosmetics and an envelope with a Bronze Age gold necklace in the shape of a crescent moon known as a lunula and two gold discs.

Sunniva Sheehan, owner of the pharmacy, said her father put the jewelry in the safe 50 years ago. The treasures are now in the National Museum.

Dempsey and Dowling were arrested at a toll plaza as they drove back to Dublin. Police sealed off the area around the pharmacy and located the missing items in a black trash bag after a search through dumpsters.

The judge hearing their case was told Dempsey has visited the National Museum to see the necklace. Dowling is serving eight years for a pub attack in which a man's hand was cut off with a samurai sword.

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