updated 1/25/2010 1:42:35 PM ET 2010-01-25T18:42:35

Police routinely attempt to convince suspects to come clean and "cough" to committing a crime. And one man, accused of receiving a stolen diamond ring, did just that — literally.

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Pictures of the two-carat diamond ring, worth about $20,000, were sent to jewelers in the Joplin area, Missouri, after it was reported stolen when someone took the owner's purse from her car Thursday.

The Joplin Globe reported that the owner of Newton's Jewelry recognized the ring when a man and woman came to his store a few hours after the theft and said they wanted to sell it.

L.T. Newton and his staff stalled them and called police.

Police said the man swallowed the ring when officers arrived but, while being questioned, he began to cough uncontrollably.

Eventually the ring emerged and the man and woman have since been charged with receiving stolen property.

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