A Dublin jewelry thief got a bit of surprise when it turned out that the attendants who he stole a bracelet from were in fact top-class athletes, making his getaway near impossible.

The Irish Independent reports on the story of the thwarted thief. Stephen Ralph, 28, and Bryan McCrystal, 31, were working in Baldwin's jeweller's in Dundalk when the incident occurred.

Ralph said the thief “seemed 100 percent genuine, he knew he wanted a bracelet and he had a good look” at what was on display.

"He lifted this full bracelet, looked me in the eye and said, 'thank you', and ran out the door,” said Ralph. “He had a hard neck."

The thief, however, did not get far with the €1,000 bracelet. "He picked the wrong shop to rob, with two athletes in it," said Ralph.

Ralph made a bolt for the door as the thief attempted to flee, and was able to grab the back wheel of his bicycle so that he couldn’t pedal away.

McCrystal, who was working with another customer at the time, ran out after Ralph.

"I asked him what the man had taken and saw him running up the street. I, instinctively, ran after him and caught him at the corner,” said McCrystal.

"I grabbed him by his coat, it was a big overcoat and told him to hand it over -- and he did."

The shop attendants’ athletic backgrounds no doubt played a hand in preventing the robbery. Ralph is in training for the Dublin City Marathon, and McCrystal has a background in football with the Dundalk FC and Leeds Utd. Both men have competed in Ironman competitions.

"I race professionally around the globe and I am the triathlon national champion of Ireland, which I won this year," said McCrystal.

McCrystal added that “every sale is important and when somebody takes something without paying for it, it hurts.”

Gardai were on the scene of the robbery within minutes, and have detained the 36 year old thief. A file is being prepared for the DPP in relation to the theft.

Store attendants chase down and nab jewelry thief who stole €1,000 braceletGoogle Images