A British Olympian was robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday night, and very little is known about the guilty party. Some believe the U.S. swim team might be involved, but nobody knows for sure.
Until a solid suspect can be found, or the games can conclude, U.K. officials are issuing an official warning to Team GB athletes. Rio isn’t a safe place to be at night outside your designated village.
The state isn’t quite what it might have looked like in the 2011 and 2014 animated films from 20th Century Fox about two birds. It is a popular vacation spot, but due to this and the difference in laws between the United States and South American nations like Brazil, tourists are often targets for an apparent undercurrent of crime.
— Seth Goldberg (@sethgoldberg17) August 18, 2016
Great Britain has even mentioned the crime in Rio de Janeiro increasing since the start of the Olympic games.
“Rio is NOT a safe environment, and the level of crime has spiked in the last few days. Think very carefully about whether it is worth the risk of leaving the village to celebrate after you have finished competing – BOA/UKA staff cannot guarantee your safety when away from the village/British School/British House. Our strong advice is that it is simply not worth the risk given the current climate in Rio.”
The British Olympian robbed wasn’t the only one who had wandered from their protected area, though, as U.S. swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz had also left to party after their competition and teammate Ryan Lochte claimed to have been robbed. However, his story hadn’t entirely checked out, according to the Daily Mail and the police. Ryan Lochte had left close to the same time the Team GB Olympian had been relieved of his possessions. Lochte is already home in the United States, but his teammates were stopped at the Rio airport for questioning.
People are idiots. Why would someone make up that they were robbed?
Especially an Olympian who has a lot to… https://t.co/PKGegP1Kit
— CJ Stryker (@CJStryker) August 18, 2016
It’s inconclusive so far whether the swimmers had had anything to do with the British Olympian being robbed, and the U.K. has issued an official warning against leaving the village after competing, and against taking any taxis. According to the Guardian, if they do leave, they should not wear any clothing indicating they are involved with the Olympics. Tourists are all targets, it seems, and if you don’t look like one, you might be left alone.
Authorities have confirmed that the British Olympian robbed is fine and in good health, if currently in shock.
“We can confirm there has been an incident of theft involving a Team GB athlete returning to their accommodation. All members of our delegation, including the individual concerned, are accounted for, and are safe and well.”
British authorities added that anyone who leaves the given premises should notify them first.
“Do not go out of the village wearing TeamGB kit or carry anything of value unless absolutely unavoidable – this makes you too big a target for theft/crime. You MUST inform a member of team management if you are leaving the village and planning on staying out overnight – please do this BEFORE you leave.”
Following the British Olympian being robbed, if any more robberies are reported, there may be a ban on all Team GB Olympians leaving their safe zones due to the suddenly rising crime rate.
Technically, even average tourists anywhere should likely follow the same advice. Don’t dress like you’re on vacation, and never take valuables outside for strangers to see. They might feel the need to take it from you by force, and the British Olympian in Rio won’t be the only one robbed.
[Image via Vitabello1/Shutterstock.com]