AceShowbiz - This is what happens when pranks go too far. Orange County District Attorney's Office announced on Wednesday, August 5 that twin YouTube stars Alan Stokes and Alex Stokes were charged with false imprisonment and "swatting" following a bank robbery prank.
The siblings, who are 23-year-old, each was charged with one felony count of false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud or deceit and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency. If convicted, the Stokes, who generate 4.8 million subscribers on YouTube and over 25 million on TikTok, face up to four years in prison.
The said prank occured in Irvine on October 15, 2019 and was documented in a video which was later posted on YouTube on October 20. The clip, which garnered over 1.4 million views, saw the twin brothers donning black outfits and ski masks, as well as duffel bags filled with cash to make themselves look like bank robbers.
They ordered an Uber but the driver refused to drive them. A passerby who witnessed the situation, called the police as s/he thought they were trying to carjack the driver. The police approached the Uber driver but later they determined he was not involved. At the time, the police let them go after warning the Stokes about the danger of their behavior. However, the brothers tried a similar stunt on the campus of UC Irvine.
"These were not pranks," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a press statement released by his office. "These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed."
"Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect the public and when someone calls 911 to report an active bank robbery they are going to respond to protect lives," Spitzer continued. "Instead, what they found was some kind of twisted attempt to gain more popularity on the internet by unnecessarily putting members of the public and police officers in danger."