American tourist Porfilio Nicholas Anthony, 25, from California, was arrested in Rio early this Monday by officers of the Special Tourist Service (Deat). on charges of trying to pull an insurance scam.
Anthony told police that he had been assaulted at about 6:30 am by a tall strong man armed with a knife who took his three bags not far from the Copacabana Atlantic Hotel where he was staying.
In addition, the American said he had walked two blocks to catch a taxi, something very unusual for tourists staying in Rio's south side.
Suspicious of his story, authorities went to the hotel and found out that he had checked out at 10:30 am from the place, four hours later than he said the robbery had occurred. They also discovered that his luggage was still at the hotel's luggage room.
Anthony was taken to the Deat's police station in Leblon and his case is being now followed by American officials from the US Consulate in Rio.
According to the Brazilian police, the American tourist reported the fake theft to get the US$ 17,000 of luggage insurance he had bought. Now instead he is going to be indicted for fraud and will be slapped with a steep fine. He might also get up to five years in jail.
In July two British tourists were also arrested trying the same kind of scam. Shanti Andrews Simone Claire and Rebecca Turner, both 23 and both lawyers, complained to the DEAT that thieves had taken their bags and documents. At that time police also located the luggage that had supposedly been stolen.