Ryan Lochte and his crew paid around $400 to the Rio gas station owner for a sandwich sign they cracked during their drunken escapade, and the amount of cash may actually help the boys.
Our guy in Rio got a pic of the damage, and all you see is a slight crack on the plastic cover of a sign on the wall outside the bathroom. Although cops talked about a mirror that was broken in the bathroom, we saw no evidence of this and someone who works there said the sign was the only thing damaged.
Lochte claims he and the other swimmers offered around $50 for the damage but the station wanted more. Our Lochte sources tell us he paid around $400.
Our sources say by extracting exponentially more than the damage warranted, with the help of a gun, that constituted robbery and therefore the police report was not false.
3:34 PM PT -- ABC News appears to have backed off the indictment story and now says federal cops are "recommending" indictment.
Ryan Lochte and James Feigen have been indicted in Rio for filing a false police report ... this according to ABC News.
Sources connected to the 2 swimmers tell TMZ, they're "not surprised" at the turn of events, but they add Ryan and Jimmy told the truth. They reiterated, as Ryan initially said, the swimmers were in a cab, they were confronted by men who appeared to be police and at that point there is a lapse of 3 minutes on the video.
When the video restarts the swimmers come out with their hands up, Ryan is standing and then goes down. And the sources add armed security took their money.
Jimmy Feigen is still in Rio and could be arrested. Ryan is back in the U.S.
The crime of filing a false police report is punishable by 6 months in jail. We've done some checking and the crime is not listed as an extraditable offense, which means the U.S. cannot force Lochte to go back to Rio for prosecution.
Cops in Rio are making things personal by claiming Ryan Lochte's teammates rolled over on him, and by dragging random women into the story ... according to sources connected to the swimmer.
Sources in Lochte's camp tell us the police news conference was full of lies -- including the bit about two female witnesses the cops said were hanging with the 4 U.S. swimmers. We're told that's absolutely BS ... and a personal attack designed to make the guys look bad, especially since some of them have girlfriends.
Lochte's camp also says there's no truth to the cops' claim one of the swimmers confessed to lying. We're told Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen all stand united on what went down, including the fact a gun was used to commit the robbery.
Ryan Lochte did not lie about the "robbery" incident ... and there are 3 minutes of missing surveillance video that will back up most of his story ... this according to sources directly connected to the swimmer.
Our sources say Lochte and his team claim they were indeed taken out of a cab at gunpoint, but the video doesn't show that because the gas station edited it out.
We're told Lochte mistook the uniforms worn by the security guards as police uniforms, and he claims during the missing 3 minutes he and the other swimmers were pulled out of the taxi at gunpoint.
As for his claim the cab was pulled over en route, one of the sources concedes, "That's a problem."
And our Lochte sources say reports that his 3 teammates admitted the story was a lie are untrue.
In fact ... Jimmy Feigen just spoke with local news in San Antonio, denying a cover-up and affirming he was robbed.
9:08 AM PT -- Security camera footage from the gas station shows the swimmers walking through a hallway back toward the bathroom, and then leave. You can't see what happens by the bathroom door.
Once they get in their taxi though, gas station employees approach and after some discussion they all get out of the cab. At the very end of the footage ... the swimmers have their hands up and it appears they're being forced to sit on the ground.
There's no gun visible in the video.
Ryan Lochte and his teammates left out a huge part of their "robbery" story -- which is that they busted up a gas station bathroom, and THEN a security guard pulled a gun on them ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Sources connected to James Feigen tell us the real deal is ... the 4 swimmers -- including Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz -- were on their way home from a party early Sunday morning when they stopped to take a leak at a gas station. We're told one or more of the guys was peeing outside the bathroom, and also kicked in the bathroom door.
Our sources say the swimmers were all wasted.
That's when the gas station's armed security guard rolled up, pulled his gun and demanded they pay for the damage. We're told he did take money from the swimmers, but only to cover the expenses, and then let them go.
Rio police say the gas station manager tells a slightly different story -- claiming the guard never pulled the gun and the manager merely asked them to pay, which they did.
Bottom line ... it's possible Lochte and co. didn't lie about a gun or losing money. However, they DID create a whole bogus scenario about their taxi getting pulled over and fake badges -- and totally omitted the part about them starting the trouble in the first place. On Wednesday night, Lochte repeated most of those lies to Matt Lauer.
They could face prosecution for lying to Rio cops. They have a news conference scheduled for later Thursday.
Ryan Lochte is changing his tune about the alleged Rio robbery ... sorta ... with new claims about the incident that don't exactly jive with the story he told Billy Bush.
First, Matt Lauer says Lochte now insists he did NOT have a gun pressed up against his forehead during the incident -- but rather, one of the gunmen was pointing the gun in his general direction.
Lauer says he noticed one other difference when he spoke with the swimmer on the phone Wednesday night.
Lochte now says he did not get "pulled over" by menposing as police -- but rather, 2 men approached their taxi while it was parked at a gas station, where Lochte had used the restroom. Lochte says the crew tried to tell the taxi driver to go, but he wouldn't.
Lochte says he feels the differences are nothing more than a "traumatic mischaracterization."
Lauer says he asked Lochte if he made the story up to cover up something else the swimmers were doing that night -- and Ryan adamantly denied that.
10:30 PM PT -- A rep for the USOC says Conger and Bentz have both been released by local authorities ... but will remain in Brazil to continue discussions on Thursday, along with James Feigen, who the rep says is also in contact with investigators.
Team USA swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz -- who were with Ryan Lochte during the alleged robbery in Rio -- got yanked off an airplane as they were trying to leave Brazil.
The USOC confirms to TMZ Sports ... Conger and Bentz were detained by authorities, but says it's still gathering information as to find out exactly why.
Earlier on Tuesday, cops in Rio said they were suspicious of the swimmers' claim they were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning. The USOC says cops went to the Olympic Village to interview Lochte and teammate James Feigen, but discovered they'd already left -- Locate's actually back in the States.
NBC says Feigen was slated to be on the same flight with Bentz and Conger, but never showed up.
Looks like they nabbed Conger and Bentz at the last possible moment. Late Wednesday night, cops were still interviewing them at the airport.