A Brazilian police official has said American swimmer Ryan Lochte fabricated the story that he and three teammates were robbed in Rio, according to the Associated Press, and a gas station owner has accused the quartet of vandalism, according to Globo.com.
The official said swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, who were blocked from leaving Rio on a plane Wednesday, admitted during questioning that Lochte had made the story up.
According to a television report for the Brazilian publication Globo, the police are now saying the alleged robbery involving Lochte, Bentz, Conger, and Jimmy Feigen was actually confusion over a broken bathroom door at a gas station.
A second report from Globo.com, however, features a witness who says the swimmers intentionally vandalised the gas station after being accused of urinating on a footpath.
According to the first report, security guards at a gas station told the police the swimmers stopped at the station at about 6 a.m. and used the bathroom. The statements from the guards reportedly say that when the swimmers tried to leave, it was noticed that the bathroom door was broken, the taxi was ordered not to leave, and the police were called.
The police official told the AP the swimmers couldn’t open the door and broke it when they pushed it in.
The report says two of the swimmers fled the scene down the street and security would have then pointed a gun and shown badges to the other two swimmers to prevent them from leaving.
Here is a translation of the report from Google translate:
“The guards told in a statement to police that on Sunday at 6 a.m., the taxi driver stopped at the station with four men in the car. He recognised swimmer Ryan Lochte as one of the athletes who were in the vehicle.
“In testimony, he also reported that the manager was called to contain a confusion in the gas station funds. And when it came to the bathroom he found the soap dish, the paper, the information board and the damaged door. Then the swimmers went to the taxi, but the taxi driver obeyed the order of safety to await the arrival of the police, which was triggered.
“Also according to the safety, swimmers showed aggressive, changed and clearly drunk. And in that moment, he presented the badge. Two athletes fled to the street, following the flow of vehicles. The security would have pointed, then the gun to prevent other two left the place.”
However, the second report paints a slightly different picture. According to that report in Globo, the station’s owner accused the swimmers of vandalism.
Here is the Google translation:
“According to the dealer, Ryan Lochte, James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger came to urinate on the spot, despite appeals from officials for them to use the bathroom.
“Also according to the owner of the station, one of the athletes came to vandalise part of the establishment. They would have torn an advertising board after they urinated.
” — It was pure vandalism — said.”
The first report goes on to say (via Google translate) that the swimmers became “aggressive” when it took the police a long time to show up, adding that eventually somebody showed up to translate and the Americans offered cash to pay for the door and then left.
Security reportedly said in their report that the police did not show up to the gas station until the afternoon, seven hours later.
This report does seem to at least be consistent with large parts of what the swimmers say happened, including details such as being forced out of a taxi and somebody showing a badge and pointing a gun. It would seem that the language barrier also played a role and could have added to the confusion.
You can see video of some of the incident at Globo.com.
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