Brazil police official: Ryan Lochte fabricated robbery claim
Swimmers claimed they were victims of armed robbery
RIO DE JANEIRO – A Brazilian police official told the Associated Press Thursday that U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte fabricated the claim that he and three of his teammates were robbed at gunpoint Sunday morning in Brazil.
Gas station confrontation
The official, who has direct knowledge of the investigation, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about an ongoing probe, the AP reports.
He said that around 6 a.m. on Sunday, Lochte, along with fellow swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen, stopped at a gas station in Barra da Tijuca, a suburb of Rio where many Olympic venues are located. One of the swimmers tried to open the door of an outside bathroom. It was locked.
A few of the swimmers then pushed on the door and broke it. A security guard appeared and confronted them, the official said.
The official says the guard was armed with a pistol, but he never took it out or pointed it at the swimmers.
According to the official, the gas station manager then arrived. Using a customer to translate, the manager asked the swimmers to pay for the broken door. After a discussion, they did pay him an unknown amount of money and then left.
The official says that swimmers Conger and Bentz, who were pulled off a plane going back to the United States late Wednesday, told police that the robbery story had been fabricated.
Swimmers ordered to stay in Rio
The United States Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that U.S. Olympic swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were removed from their flight to the United States by Brazilian authorities, according to the Associated Press.
A Brazilian judge ordered two teammates of Conger and Bentz -- U.S. swimmers Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen -- to stay in Brazil as authorities investigate their claim that they were robbed during the Olympics.
Lochte has already returned to the United States, his father confirmed to the AP Wednesday.
The office of Judge Keyla Blank confirmed an order to seize the passports of Lochte and Feigen Wednesday in a statement.
The four swimmers said they were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi Sunday morning as they returned to the athletes' village from a party. One of the bandits reportedly put a gun to Lochte's forehead, according to CNN.
The vehicle was "stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes' money and other personal belongings," said USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky.
"We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a police badge, no lights, no nothing -- just a police badge and they pulled us over," Lochte told NBC. "They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground -- they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn't do anything wrong, so -- I'm not getting down on the ground."
Police said they have found little evidence to support the robbery claim. Lochte's attorney said there's no question the robbery happened.
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