Two Youtube stars have been charged with felonies after they pretended to rob a bank for a prank video on Youtube.
The Stokes Twins – who have 4.8 million followers on their Youtube channel – uploaded the video last year.
The prank actually happened in October 2019, and until very recently, the video was still live on their channel too, with over 1.4 million views, called "BANK ROBBER PRANK (gone wrong)".
The video also shows their interactions with police officers.
Alan and Alex Stokes have both been charged with one felony count of false imprisonment, and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office 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.
In the video, the brothers pretended that they had already robbed a bank and were trying to get away with the help of people around them.
They had ordered an Uber – and were dressed in all black, with masks on, and carrying bags of “cash”.
When they got in, the Uber driver refused to drive them, saying, “‘This is weird. It’s not funny. You can’t take this ride … get out of my car please.’
A bystander called the police because they thought that the twins were trying to carjack the Uber driver. When police showed up, they held the Uber driver at gunpoint, while letting the twins go with a warning.
The pair went on to perform exactly the same prank hours later at the University of California. They can be heard telling students on campus about what had happened, but it's unclear whether they were trying to perform the same prank again.
They did admit remorse about the way that the Uber driver had been treated.
However, bystanders called the police again, and they were reprimanded by police yet again.
An officer can be heard 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.”
If they are convicted, they will each face up to four years in state prison, which may seem like a long time to go away for a prank.