Twin brothers who run a popular YouTube channel that features their pranks on the unsuspecting public pleaded guilty to reduced charges connected to fake bank robberies, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, of Irvine, were each charged in August 2020 with one felony count of false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency,
The charges stemmed 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. Before it was removed, their video had more than 1.4 million views. The brothers’ channel currently has more than 6.6 million subscribers.
On Wednesday, the brothers each pleaded guilty in exchange for the judge reducing the felony false imprisonment charge to a misdemeanor, according to the district attorney’s office, which added that prosecutors objected to the court’s offer to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor.
“These crimes could have easily resulted in someone being seriously hurt or killed,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “An active bank robbery is not a casual police response and these police officers were literally risking their lives to help people they believed were in danger. It is irresponsible and reckless that these two individuals cared more about increasing their number of followers on the internet than the safety of those police officers or the safety of the innocent Uber driver who was ordered out of his car at gunpoint.”
The Stokes were each sentenced to 160 hours of community service, one-year formal probation and ordered to pay restitution. The judge also ordered the brothers to stop making videos that mimic criminal behavior, according to the district attorney’s office.