RIO DE JANEIRO (CBSNewYork/AP) —The U.S. Olympic Committee says Ryan Lochte and three other American swimmers were robbed by armed men who stopped their taxi.
USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky says Lochte and the others left the French Olympic team’s hospitality house early Sunday in a taxi headed for the athletes village, hours after the last night of Olympic swimming.
He says “the taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings.”
Lochte told NBC News that one man put a gun to his head and cocked it, but he protested and said they hadn’t done anything wrong,” 1010 WINS’ Steve Kastenbaum reported. Lochte said they were then told to lie down and their wallets were stolen.
“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,” Lochte told NBC’s “Today” show. “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 cellphone, he left my credentials.”
Traveling with Lochte were Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen.
Sandusky says the four swimmers are “safe and cooperating with authorities.”
USA Today and Fox Sports Australia first reported the news, citing Lochte’s mother, Ileana Lochte.
Lochte swam in two events at the Rio Games, winning gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
Street crime was a major concern of Olympic organizers going into the games. Brazil deployed 85,000 soldiers and police to secure the games, twice as many as Britain used during the 2012 London Olympics.
Last week, a Brazilian security officer was fatally shot after taking a wrong turn into a dangerous favela, or slum. Two Australian rowing coaches were attacked and robbed by two assailants in Ipanema, and Portugal’s education minister was held up at knifepoint on a busy street.
In addition, stray bullets have twice landed in the equestrian venue, and two windows were shattered on a bus carrying journalists in an attack that Rio organizers blamed on rocks and others claimed was gunfire.
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