Twin brothers who run a YouTube channel with millions of subscribers were charged Wednesday with multiple crimes, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, of Irvine, were each charged with one felony count of false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency, according to authorities.
The charges stem from two Oct.15, 2019 pranks in which the brothers pretended they robbed a bank and were trying to make a getaway by asking unsuspecting people for clothing items or help with transportation. The video is still live on their channel. It has more than 1.4 million views. The brothers’ channel has more than 4.8 million subscribers.
“These were not pranks,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed.”
Numerous bystanders called police both times when they witnessed the brothers running around. Officers arriving and stopping the pair was taped and added to the YouTube video.
“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,” Spitzer said. “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.”
The brothers each face a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted on all counts.