Twin YouTubers in Irvine are accused of orchestrating bank robberies to film prank videos pleading guilty
A pair of twin brothers with a popular YouTube channel with pranks on unsuspecting people pleaded guilty on Wednesday of guilty of false incarcerations and of reporting false emergencies related to the staging of fake bank robberies in Irvine that resulted in an innocent Uber- Driver was held at gunpoint by police and officers said.
Irvine’s 23-year-old residents Alan and Alex Stokes were each redeemed for a crime of false incarceration for violence, threat, fraud or deceit and two misreporting emergency-related prank-related offenses that occurred in October 2019 , indicted The district attorney’s office announced this in a press release on Wednesday.
The brothers allegedly made two attempts to film a fake bank robbery on October 15, 2019, officials said.
According to prosecutors, the twin brothers were dressed all in black, wore ski masks and travel bags filled with cash, and pretended to have robbed a bank when their videographer filmed them. The brothers then ordered an Uber, officials said.
Unfamiliar with the prank, the driver of this Uber refused to drive it and asked a bystander to call the police to see how the events played out. The viewer had thought the men had just robbed a bank and tried to steal the Uber driver, the prosecutors said.
Irvine police responded and ordered the Uber driver to get out of his car at gunpoint. However, he was released after the officers found he was not involved. The police warned the Stokes brothers of the dangerousness of their behavior, but also let them go, the DA office said.
Four hours later, on the UC Irvine campus, the brothers were carrying out the same joke and police made emergency calls about a bank robbery, prosecutors said.
“These crimes could easily have resulted in someone being seriously injured or killed,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “An active bank robbery is not an accidental police reaction, and these cops literally risked their lives to help people they believed were in danger.”
On October 20, five days after their fake robberies, the two uploaded a video to their YouTube channel of them approaching people and asking them suspicious questions or showing them bundles of money, leading to confrontations with the Police led, reported KTLA. The video has since been removed.
“It is irresponsible and inconsiderate that these two people were more concerned with increasing their followers on the internet than with the safety of these cops or the safety of the innocent Uber driver who was ordered out of his car at gunpoint.” continued Spitzer.
The Stokes brothers face up to five years in prison each if convicted as defendants.
The prosecutor’s office said the confessions of guilt were in exchange for a judge who reduced the wrongful imprisonment charge to a misdemeanor, which prosecutors alleged.
The brothers were each sentenced to 160 hours of community service, one year of formal probation, and sentenced to restitution. The judge also ordered the twins to stay away from UC Irvine and stop making videos imitating criminal behavior.
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