Twin YouTube Stars Alan and Alex Stokes Charged With Staging Fake Bank Robberies as Pranks
By Zach Seemayer
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
Twin YouTubers Alan and Alex Stokes are facing felony and misdemeanor charges as a result of a fake bank robbery prank they allegedly orchestrated for a YouTube video.
According to the District Attorney's Office of Orange County, California, the popular content creators have been each charged with one felony count of "false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit" as well as one misdemeanor charge of "falsely reporting an emergency," also known as "swatting."
The event in question occurred in October 2019, and was documented in a video they posted titled "BANK ROBBER PRANK! (gone wrong)," the 23-year-old twins donned black outfits and ski masks, as well as duffel bags filled with cash.
They then ordered an Uber and pretended to be bank robbers. The driver refused to drive them and passersby who witnessed the prank called the police, believing that the two were trying to carjack the driver. The police approached the Uber driver with guns drawn before they determined he was not involved.
Police at the time issued a warning to the Stokes brothers, and explained the inherent danger of their behavior, but let the go with a warning. Four hours later, the two allegedly tried a similar stunt on the campus of UC Irvine.
The brothers' interactions with police were also documented in the video they edited and posted to their YouTube channel. That video has since been made private.
"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."
If convicted on all counts, they could each face a possible maximum sentence of four years in state prison.
ET has reached out to the Stokes brothers for comment.