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Youtubers Alex and Alan Stokes charged with false imprisonment over bank robbery prank video


The twins have been hit with a felony charge of false imprisonment (Picture: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV)

Twin YouTubers have been charged with felonies after staging a bank robbery for a prank video.

Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, have each been charged with one felony account of false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency, after their prank resulted in an Uber driver being held at gunpoint by police.

In a press release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Stokes twins are accused of being dressed all in black, wearing ski masks, and carrying duffle bags full of cash as they pretended they had just robbed a bank.

The incident, starting at around 2.30pm on October 15 2019, was filmed by their videographer.

The YouTubers ordered an Uber but when they got in the car, the driver refused to drive them, unaware that it was a prank.

According to the DA’s office, a bystander witnessed this and believed the twins were trying to carjack the Uber driver having just robbed a bank.

The police arrived and ordered the driver out of the car at gunpoint, with the driver released after it was determined he was not involved.

The video was shared last October (Picture: YouTube)

The Stokes brothers were issued with a warning by police and were let go, but four hours later, the twins performed the same kind of prank on the campus of the University of California, with emergency calls about a bank being robbed being received by police.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said: ‘These were not pranks. 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. 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.’

Alex and Alan – who have 4.81 million subscribers on their Stokes Twins channel – shared the ‘pranks’ in a video uploaded to YouTube on October 20, titled ‘BANK ROBBER PRANK! (gone wrong)’, which received over one million views.

The video, which was made private on August 5, showed the twins’ interaction with the Uber driver, as the footage showed them telling the driver: ‘Our getaway driver just bailed on us.’

The YiuTubers have nearly 5 million subscribers (Picture: Presley Ann/FilmMagic)

The driver is heard saying: ‘This is weird. It’s not funny. You can’t take this ride … get out of my car please.’

The twins recounted the incident later in the video speaking to college students, saying: ‘We’ve had the police called on us like all day. I called an Uber driver, right, and we both got in the car, and then the people saw us get into the car with like the ski mask and everything on, and then the Uber driver kicked us out of the car.

‘One minute later, there were like 10 cop cars that pulled out like guns on him. They were like rifles. They thought he was the getaway driver, so they had like 15 guns — he’s like, “I’m not even a part of this…” Yeah, poor guy.’

At the end of the video, officers surround the brothers as they try to explain the prank, with one officer saying: ‘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.

‘Think about what’s going on nowadays. Think about it. You’ve got to be smarter than that. You know better. You’re absolutely lucky you didn’t get guns drawn on you.’

If convicted on all counts, the Stokes brothers each face a maximum of four years in state prison. 

As well as having nearly five million subscribers on YouTube, the twins have 25.4 million followers on TikTok.

Metro.co.uk has contacted the Stokes twins for comment. 

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