Law enforcement officials say that a violent assault and robbery reported at a SeaTac burger restaurant was actually a hoax with a racial component perpetrated in order to obtain immigration visas for the participants.
A customer walked into the Bob's Burgers and Teriyaki restaurant to find employees and customers tied up. They said that they had been robbed by two masked men who also sexually assaulted two females.
When police interviewed the witnesses, they began to notice discrepancies in their stories.
Eventually, one witness admitted that the robbery was a hoax, police say.
"Make no mistake, false reporting is a crime," police said. "Falsely reporting a violent crime puts officers and the public at risk and, in this case, it undermines the true intent of the U-Visa program – to protect real victims, mostly women, of violent crime and human trafficking."
The participants are accused of staging the hoax in order to help them avoid deportation and apply to the U-Visa program, which is intended to give legal status to immigrants who aid police investigating crimes.
Police say there was a racial component to the hoax report because the participants falsely claimed the attackers were Samoan.
King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht told reporters that the "participants decided they would pin this fake robbery on two Samoan males. Not only do we have a hoax but we have a racially motivated one."
Johanknecht said that 10 individuals are being questioned about their alleged participation in the criminal reporting of a false crime, and they may be charged.
Here's a local video of the hoax:
Robbery and assault at Bob's Burgers in SeaTac was a hoax to avoid deportation www.youtube.com