California twins were convicted on Wednesday for staging fake bank robberies on YouTube. During a staging, their Uber driver, who was unaware of anything, had been put in play by real police officers.
Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, have become celebrities by shooting pranks of all kinds on hidden cams that they broadcast on their YouTube and TikTok channels. On October 15, 2019, dressed all in black with ski goggles and bag full of banknotes, they filmed themselves claiming to have robbed a bank south of Los Angeles.
Two “robberies” in a few hours
They called an Uber driver who was supposed to pick them up on their escape, but the latter refused to pick them up when he saw them. A passer-by who witnessed the scene notified the police, believing they were witnessing a hostage-taking attempt by real robbers. Upon arrival, the police took aim at the Uber driver before realizing it was a prank.
The two brothers were warned about the dangers of their behavior and were left free. A few hours later, they started their joke again on a university campus, again prompting the police to intervene after emergency calls.
The twins plead guilty
“These crimes could easily have resulted in someone being seriously injured or even killed,” the Orange County district attorney said in a statement. The magistrate described their conduct as “irresponsible and dangerous”. The twins were charged with various offenses.
They each faced five years in prison but the court agreed to lower the charges if they pleaded guilty, which they did. They were ultimately sentenced to 160 hours of community service and a year of probation, with a ban on filming videos simulating criminal behavior.