Olympics: Village security beefed up after Australia theft

Members of the Brazilian Army stand guard outside the accommodation buildings of the delegations of Australia and Germany at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro on July 26, 2016.
Members of the Brazilian Army stand guard outside the accommodation buildings of the delegations of Australia and Germany at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro on July 26, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

(AFP) - Security at the Olympic village has been tightened following the theft of a computer and team shirts from the Australian delegation during a fire evacuation, team officials said on Sunday (July 31).

Australia chef de mission Kitty Chiller told reporters that a laptop and team jerseys were stolen when the facility was evacuated for a small blaze on Friday.

"There was one laptop taken from one of our cycling officials on the fifth floor. Our IT equipment in our operational space had also been rifled through but nothing had been stolen," Chiller said.

Chiller said during the evacuation she had noticed three fire marshals apparently stealing the Australia team shirts.

"When I arrived, which was halfway through the evacuation, I saw three fire marshals - I don't know who they were - walking out with team shirts," she said.

"I thought maybe they have helped evacuate people and we've given them a shirt. It doesn't seem to be what happened.

"We don't know how many team shirts were taken and, yes, that's concerning."

After the fire, Chiller said Rio 2016 organisers had increased security throughout the Olympic village.

"There is a much greater security presence than there had been at the start when there were a lot of contractors and workers in the village, getting the building done in time," she said.

"Rio 2016 engaged a private security force and we now have private security and every building has (that) on either side of the doors. The security presence is there."

Rio's crime rate has been one of the biggest concerns heading into the Olympics. China revealed on Friday that members of its Olympic delegation had already fallen victim to theft.

Chiller said the vast size of the Olympic Village, which houses thousands of athletes and support staff, "theft is going to be inevitable." She rejected any suggestion Australia's delegation was being deliberately targeted, however.

"No one would target the Australians. They wouldn't dare," she said.