Popular YouTubers Alex and Alan Stokes (who vlog under the username Stokes Twins) could face up to 4 years in jail, after being charged in relation to a staged bank robbery prank that allegedly broke the law. The pair boast 4.8 million subscribers and are known for their challenge videos, such as ‘Which twin can gain the most weight in 24 hours?’, as well as stunts involving the general public.
They’ve each been charged with one felony account of false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit and one misdemeanour count of falsely reporting an emergency, relating to a prank they pulled in California back in October of last year. In their subsequent YouTube video of the false robbery, they can be seen running down the street with their faces covered by ski masks, duffel bags full of money in tow.
The Stokes twins also stand accused of presenting themselves as genuine criminals to an unsuspecting Uber driver (who refused to drive them) and passers-by. In the video, they ask innocent bystanders for help, be it through items of clothing or a lift. Police were called when a member of the public mistakenly thought the twins were attempting to steal a car.
Todd Spitzer, Orange Country district attorney, said that their ‘joke’ could have resulted in somebody being seriously hurt. “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.”
According to a BBC report, Spitzer continued to say, “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.”
At the time of the prank, the twins were given a warning by law enforcement officers and told they were free to go. It appears that the charges have been brought retrospectively.
Alex and Alan Stokes aren’t the only YouTubers in trouble with the law at the moment; Jake Paul’s home was recently raided by the FBI (who appeared to seize multiple weapons from the grounds). He is currently facing charges for looting during a riot that stemmed from a Black Lives Matter protest. Paul, who was not home at the time of the raid, has denied any wrongdoing with regards to his arrest – tweeting, “To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism.”
It’s believed the video ‘BANK ROBBER PRANK! (gone wrong)’ received over one million views, but has since been removed from the Stokes Twins channel.
UPDATE: 10 September 2020 – Lawyers for the Stokes brothers today issued a statement claiming that their clients have been wrongfully accused of crimes they did not commit. They say that their clients are not guilty of any crime and that they notified police of the prank in advance. They complain that the brothers were not told about the police’s decision to accuse them and that the police waited almost 300 days before issuing their press release.
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Source: Cosmo Politian