The circumstances surrounding the alleged robbery of four U.S. Olympic swimmers—including onetime reality TV star Ryan Lochte—have gotten as murky as that algae-filled green pool water. Now Brazilian police are saying that the men were actually involved in an incident at a gas station. One official told The New York Times: “Unfortunately, the swimmers told one lie after another,” adding, “We’ve been able to determine that there was no armed assault.”
According to The Times, the swimmers stopped at a gas station around 6 a.m. to use the bathroom. “In the process, according to the account by investigators, damage was done to the bathroom door and a discussion ensued with the manager and a security guard,” the Times reports. “Someone at the gas station called the police, but by the time a police car arrived at the scene the swimmers were gone. Witnesses, including a person who offered to translate for the swimmers, said that they paid money to the manager before leaving.”
ABC News has the bit that police said that the men “offered 100 reals and $20” as compensation. Per ABC, Brazilian police said the men were “so drunk when they gave their initial testimony, they couldn’t provide an accurate description of their assailants or even how many there were.”
This all comes after two of the swimmers involved, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, were taken off a plane and not allowed to return to the U.S. Another, Jimmy Feigen, remained in Brazil. And, as this whole situation grew messier, Ryan Lochte threw in another dose of confusion. The athlete, who is already back in the States, altered his story slightly in a new interview with Matt Lauer. Originally, Lochte told NBC’s Billy Bush the men were in a taxi and “pulled over” when they were stopped by people posing as police officers. But in his more recent interview, Lochte told Lauer that the robbery took place after they had made a pit stop at a gas station. He also said a gun was aimed in his “general direction,” rather than being “cocked” at his forehead, which was a detail he included in his chat with Bush.
Given the mystery, Twitter jokesters seemingly think this would make for good HBO drama.
UPDATE: People is now reporting that Lochte’s teammates Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz have confirmed that he made the whole robbery story up. A Brazilian official related that to the publication, and there’s also video of the swimmers trying to get into the gas station bathroom before being confronted by a security guard. People also reports that the U.S. Olympic Committee is aware of the video.