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US Swimmers Not Robbed, Brazilian Police Say

Police in Rio held a press conference on the investigation.

ByABC News
August 18, 2016, 3:11 PM

— -- Four U.S. swimmers who said they were held up at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro were not robbed, Brazilian police said at a press conference today.

Rio's Civil Police Chief Fernando Veloso said one or more of the U.S. Olympians vandalized a bathroom at a gas station after they left a party early Sunday.

The athletes broke mirrors and damaged other things in the bathroom, police said. The athletes initially refused to stay, but security asked the taxi not to leave. Another person stepped in to interpret between the athletes and the guards, and the athletes left money, police said.

Veloso added that a taxi driver picked up two women from the same party and that the women said they were "dating" or had relations with the swimmers.

Police said that witnesses were initially afraid to speak to police because of the possibility of retaliation from the high-profile foreign athletes involved.

There was no evidence of violence against the athletes, police noted.

The investigation is ongoing.

Swimmer Ryan Lochte claimed on Sunday that he and three teammates — Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen — were robbed in a taxi early that morning while heading to the Olympic Village.

Lochte told NBC News' Matt Lauer on Wednesday that the swimmers had used a restroom at a gas station and when they got back to their taxi, the driver didn't move. That's when two men approached with guns and badges and told them to get out and get down, Lochte said.

Lochte has returned to the U.S., but the three other swimmers remain in Brazil.

U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said Bentz and Conger were detained Wednesday night "shortly before their flight was scheduled to depart from Rio."

"They were released by local authorities, with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident," Sandusky said.

He said this morning that Bentz, Conger and Feigen "are cooperating with authorities and in the process of scheduling a time and place today to provide further statements to the Brazilian authorities."

"All are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the U.S. Consulate in Rio," Sandusky added.

Jeff Ostrow, an attorney for Lochte, told ESPN that authorities have not reached Lochte since he gave his initial statement Sunday night.

"The authorities know how to get in touch with me, and we would cooperate," Ostrow said. "But I haven't heard from anyone."

Lochte was not asked by authorities to stay in the country, Ostrow added.

Surveillance video obtained by Brazil's Globo TV shows the swimmers at a gas station. Additional surveillance footage obtained by Globo TV shows the swimmers arriving at a French House party around 1:45 a.m. and leaving four hours later. According to a judge in the case, the athletes claimed to have left the party at 4 a.m.

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