Two YouTube pranksters have been charged with a catalogue of serious offences after allegedly pulling a series of fake bank heists across Los Angeles.
Alan and Alex Stokes, both 23, have a YouTube channel with videos including a series of pranks of them “robbing banks” in LA.
“Twin brothers who star in YouTube videos featuring pranks on unsuspecting people have been charged with false imprisonment and swatting in connection with a pair of fake bank robberies in Irvine that resulted in their Uber driver being held at gunpoint by police,” the press release says.
“The Uber driver was not involved in the prank.”
The Stokes brothers are charged with one felony count of false imprisonment affected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit and one misdemeanour count of falsely reporting an emergency in connection with the pranks, which occurred on October 15.
The Stokes twins face four years in prison if they are convicted.
Last year, they were filming a video pretending they had just robbed a bank while dressed in all black, wearing ski masks and carrying duffel bags filled with cash.
Officials said they ordered an Uber, and the driver refused to drive them.
The driver was not aware of the prank, according to the district attorney.
Police arrived and ordered the Uber driver out of the car at gunpoint.
He was released after police determined he was not involved.
Police let the Stokes brothers go with a warning, after telling them their actions were dangerous, the press release said.
But, just four hours later, they attempted to perform a similar prank at the University of California, Irvine campus, and police received additional calls reporting a bank robbery, the district attorney said.
“These were not pranks,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.
“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.”