Did Ryan Lochte and three other US swimmers lie about being robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning in Rio?
Lochte and US teammates Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger all claim to have been robbed at gunpoint in a taxi early Sunday morning by men passing themselves as police officers.
Lochte’s account of the incident to NBC is as follows:
We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over. 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.
And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘Whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.
But the Daily Mail obtained video from the entrance of the Olympic Village just a few hours after the swimmers say they were robbed, which shows Lochte acting somewhat casually for a guy who was just held up. The footage shows Lochte joking around a bit with teammate Jimmy Feigen, hitting him over the head with his Olympic credential. The swimmers are also seen removing watches, and other objects (which appear to be wallets and cell phones) prior to going through metal detectors. All of these items would figure to be prime targets for a potential thief.
Rio authorities are skeptical the robbery actually took place. An Associated Press report, citing an anonymous police source, said that police have found little evidence that the robbery took place. They added that the swimmers “were unable to provide key details.” And Brazilian newspaper O Globo adds that Lochte and Feigen contradicted each other on portions of their stories.
Now, the swimmers are being questioned further by police. In a statement published by USA Today, US Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said, following reports that there were arrest warrants out for the swimmers, “There was no effort to detain anyone, but police did have further questions this a.m.”
Lochte has already left the country and is back in the US. We’ll continue to monitor this wild story as it unfolds.
Follow Joe DePaolo (@joe_depaolo) on Twitter
UPDATE 11:37 a.m. — CNN is reporting that a Brazilian judge has ordered search and seizure warrants for Lochte and Feigen. According to the report, the judge cited conflicting accounts of the incident from Lochte and Feigen as grounds for the seizure of their passports and searches of their Olympic Village quarters. As we mentioned earlier, Lochte is back in the US. Feigen’s whereabouts are presently unknown, according to CNN.
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com