Rio police say US swimmers made up robbery claim

Rio police say US swimmers made up robbery claim
By Euronews
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Four US swimmers who said they were robbed at gunpoint made up the story police say to cover up a vandalism incident.


Police in Rio say that four US Olympic swimmers who claimed they robbed at gunpoint made up the whole story.

Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, who were questioned after being stopped from flying back to the US, admitted the four had fabricated the story to try cover up what really happened – which was that they got into a dispute at a petrol station over paying for damage they drunkenly did to a toilet door.

The head of Rio de Janeiro’s civil police, Fernando Veloso, said there is no evidence to support their robbery account.

In addition CCTV video has emerged of the four arguing with security guards at the petrol station.

The images from the CCTV cameras appeared to show the four swimmers, including Olympic gold medallists Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen, being prevented from leaving the station by the security guards, who were armed.

The police chief said nothing indicated a guard had overreacted in pulling out his gun to calm down Lochte.

Globo reported that with the help of a Brazilian customer who spoke English a compensation arrangement for the damage to the toilet door and other fittings was eventually worked out with the Americans who have admitted to being very drunk during the incident.

They then left and returned to their accommodation before the police arrived.

Brazilian police: Ryan Lochte's teammates Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz say robbery story was fabricated. (via AP)

— ESPN (@espn) August 18, 2016

The armed robbery report increased fears for the safety of athletes and visitors at the Games, but organisers tried to play the whole thing down, defending the four swimmers.

“Give these kids a break”

Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada: “We need to understand that these kids were trying to have fun. let’s give these kids a break. Sometimes you take actions that you later regret. They had fun. They made a mistake. It’s part of life, life goes on. Let’s go.”

The police chief said it is not yet clear what crimes the swimmers might be charged with, adding that is up to a Brazilian judge.

Feigen is still in Rio, while Lockte – who has vehemently stuck to the robbery story throughout – returned to the US on Monday.

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