Alan and Alex Stokes, 23-year-old twin brothers known best for posting prank videos to YouTube under their channel Stokes Twins, have each been charged with a felony related to a fake bank robbery.
The brothers have over 4.8 million subscribers on their YouTube channel, The Stokes Twins, and over 25 million followers on TikTok. They posted videos on each account as recently as yesterday.
Each has been charged with one felony count of false imprisonment and a misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency. If convicted on all counts, the brothers face a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.
According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, on Oct. 15, 2019 Alan and Alex Stokes carried out two fake robbery pranks within hours of each other. In the first, they pretended that they had just robbed a bank and called an Uber driver who refused to drive them, unaware that the two were in the middle of a prank, according to the release. A bystander allegedly believed that they were trying to carjack the Uber driver. When police arrived, they ordered the driver out at gunpoint and released him when they determined that he was not involved.
The press release says that police issued a warning to the brothers, but later received emergency calls about a bank being robbed after the brothers allegedly pulled a similar prank on the University of California, Irvine campus.
The Hollywood Reporter reported on Aug. 5 that the video depicting the prank was, at the time, still live on their YouTube channel and had over 1.4 million views. It appears to have since been set to private. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the video showed the brothers asking people for transport or clothing, and that “numerous bystanders” called the police, whose arrival was recorded and included in the video.
“These were not pranks,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer in a statement included in the press release. “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.”
Insider has reached out to the email address listed for business on the twins’ YouTube channel, but did not immediately receive a response.