But "it was all a lie," Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said in a news conference Monday, adding that lives were put in danger.
Earlier on Monday, "The Jason Rantz Show" first reported the bogus account, saying it was an inside job in which the supposed victims thought the crime would prevent them from being deported.
Johanknecht confirmed that in her news briefing, saying "Our detectives believe the participants hoped to avoid deportation, applying for and receiving a federal U visa." Those are available to crime victims who have suffered abuse and who assist law enforcement agencies in solving the crime.
Johanknecht said no one was in custody, and the investigation into the hoax is ongoing. The case is expected to be forwarded to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
Because King County and Washington state have sanctuary status, deputies and other law enforcement officials did not ask the immigration status of those involved in the hoax.
The owner of Bob's Burgers said she did not know of the plan and that it was concocted by another employee.