‘Twisted attempt to gain popularity’: Twin YouTube stars charged over ‘fake robberies’

Twin American YouTubers face possible prison time after allegedly staging bank robberies for prank videos filmed in California last October.

Police say Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, dressed in black outfits with ski masks while carrying around duffel bags of cash and pretending they had just robbed a bank.

In a statement, Orange County District Attorney’s Office said they ordered and entered an Uber but the driver, who was unaware of the prank, refused to drive them.

This was witnessed by a bystander, who believed the men had robbed a bank and were tying to carjack the Uber driver.

Irvine police arrived and ordered the Uber driver out at gunpoint.

He was released after police realised he was not involved in the prank.

Police issued a warning to the Stokes brothers about their “dangerous conduct” and let them go, the statement read, but four hours later they staged a similar prank at the University of California.

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The twins each face a felony count of false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit and one misdemeanour count of falsely reporting an emergency.

The crimes have a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.

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Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said these “weren’t pranks”.

“These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed,” he said.

“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.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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