It seems some people will do anything for internet clout, even commit a felony.
YouTube stars Alan and Alex Stokes, whose popular channel The Stokes Twins has nearly 5 million subscribers, had a viral success last October when they posted a video of them attempting to rob a bank as a prank.
But now, the video has been removed and all the Stokes’ have to show for it is felony and misdemeanor charges: one felony count of false imprisonment and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency.
YouTubers charged with felony after terrorising bystanders in fake bank robbery stunt https://t.co/IcnIulimda
— indy100 (@indy100) August 7, 2020
The video, titled “BANK ROBBER PRANK (gone wrong)” racked up 1.4 million views.
In it, the brothers pretended to have already robbed a bank, and enlisted help in getting away from bystanders. Carrying prop bags of cash, the brothers attempted to order a getaway Uber, but the driver kicked them out of his car.
A bystander, who thought the twins were carjacking the Uber driver, called the police. When they arrived, they apparently misunderstood the situation and held the driver at gunpoint.
The twins got away with a warning.
They then tried the prank again later that day at a University of California campus, where police were called yet again.
The Orange County, California District Attorney’s Office said in no uncertain terms that the video was anything but a “prank”:
“These were not pranks. These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed.”
“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.”
And on social media, there was very little sympathy for the twins.
— NerdieNamNam (@Perik41257814) August 7, 2020
Are these the dumbest twins around? What a STUPID idea to stage a prank bank robbery to get more Youtube viewshttps://t.co/AxlcmgQXSI
— It's Always Eboue (@ArsenalANewDawn) August 7, 2020
now this, this is what I needed. Thank you for making my day 84372389798174982649 times better
— Shane's crazy pink wig (@pockyakii) August 6, 2020
All I'm thinking is, what if two black kids tried this prank …. How would it have turned out.
— Sutan #BLM# 🤘🏿👍🏿🤎 (@KamenNoRaida) August 6, 2020
They better go to jail. Or else every bank robbery or failed bank robbery will be able to say in court, “hey man it was just a YouTube prank” and they can have a friend waiting outside with a camera to make it look like one of the robbery fails and they get arrested.
— Richi (@mythril_mage) August 6, 2020
Waiting for the comments on their next videos from people defending them and blaming cancel culture
— gabriel abdi (@gabrielabdi111) August 6, 2020
Always knew they were sketchy
— Tina (@tkpbubbletea) August 6, 2020
I think that so many people on YouTube and TikTok are willing to do whatever it takes for their platform to become bigger that they will do the most destructive things and not even think twice of the consequences. It’s like they think they are immune to the law.
— Carrie Day (@TWiNKS_KS) August 5, 2020
They honestly deserve to be charged. Unsuspecting bystanders didn't know it was fake, could you even imagine how terrifying that must have been? I can't. The stench of entitlement is overwhelming 🤢😤
— muhhhriah👌 (@mjloudmouth1) August 6, 2020
— . (@NeymarMMA) August 6, 2020
If convicted, both twins will face a four year sentence in a state prison.
Internet clout comes at a cost.
But common sense is free.