Alan and Alex Stokes, 23-year-old twin brothers known best for posting prank videos to YouTube under their channel Stokes Twins, have each been charged with a felony related to a fake bank robbery, the aftermath of which the brothers recorded and posted to YouTube last October, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office (via The Hollywood Reporter.)
As part of the prank, the two brothers falsely presented themselves as criminals to an Uber driver and other random bystanders, who they then implored to give them clothes, rides, and other forms of assistance in a way that South California authorities say broke the law.
“These were not pranks. These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed,” Todd Spitzer, the Orange County district attorney, said in a statement. “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. 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.”
The brothers have each been charged with one felony count of “false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit” and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency. According to the DA’s office, the brothers face up to four years in prison if convicted on both counts.
The video shows the brothers at one point explaining the prank to a police officer, who tells them that more than a dozen officers were called to the scene over what was ultimately a false report of on-the-run criminals. The end of the video shows even more officers surrounding the brothers as they try to further explain the prank.
“This is what is going to get... someone potentially hurt. We have people stopping in the middle of the street because they’re watching this — guys pulling off ski masks, throwing stuff on the ground and changing clothes,” one officer says. “Think about what’s going on nowadays. Think about it. You’ve got to be smarter than that. You know better,” another officer says. “You’re absolutely lucky you didn’t get guns drawn on you.”