Youtuber twins convicted of staging fake heists

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LOS ANGELES | California twins who became famous on YouTube for their jokes were convicted on Wednesday of staging fake bank robberies in which their Uber driver, who was unaware of their shenanigans, was put to play by real police officers .

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Brothers Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, have specialized in pranks of all kinds and hidden camera footage, which they broadcast on their YouTube (6.6 million subscribers) and TikTok (30 million subscribers) channels. ).

On October 15, 2019, the twins dressed in all black, with ski goggles and bag full of banknotes, before being filmed claiming to have robbed a bank in their town of Irvine, south of Los Angeles.

They had called on the spot an Uber driver supposed to take care of them in their escape, which he had refused to do when seeing them. But a passer-by had witnessed the scene and warned the police, thinking he was witnessing an attempted hostage-taking by real bank robbers.

Upon their arrival, the police took aim at the Uber driver to get him out of his vehicle before realizing it was a prank. They had warned the Stokes brothers of the dangers of their behavior, but left them free.

The twins had repeated their prank a few hours later on the campus of the University of California at Irvine, again prompting the intervention of the police after emergency calls.

“These crimes could easily have resulted in someone being seriously injured or even killed,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement, calling the conduct of the two young people “irresponsible and dangerous.”

For these facts, Alan and Alex Stokes had been charged with various misdemeanors for which they each faced five years in prison, but the court agreed to revise the charges down if they pleaded guilty, which they said. fact.

The brothers were sentenced to 160 hours of community service and a year of probation, with a ban on filming videos simulating criminal behavior.