Twin YouTubers Alan and Alex Stokes Plead Guilty in Connection to Fake Bank Robberies
Twin YouTube stars have each pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors after they pretended to be bank robbers for prank videos filmed in California in 2019, which resulted in their Uber driver being held at gunpoint by police.
Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, were initially each facing a felony count of false imprisonment effected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency.
In exchange for their guilty plea, their charges were reduced to misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment and reporting false emergencies, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said Wednesday.
A judge sentenced each of the brothers to 160 hours of community service and one year of formal probation. They are also ordered to pay restitution.
Alan and Alex must also stay away from the University of California, Irvine — the location of one of the crimes — and "stop making videos that mimic criminal behavior," according to the DA's office.
The twins are accused of dressing in all black and wearing ski masks while carrying around duffel bags of cash in October 2019.
According to the DA's office, Alan and Alex ordered an Uber driver while posing as bank robbers on October 15, 2019. The driver refused to drive them, and a bystander believed they were trying to carjack the Uber driver.
When police arrived, they ordered the Uber driver out of the car at gunpoint, releasing him when they realized he was not involved.
"Police issued a warning to the Stokes brothers about the dangerousness of their conduct and let them go," the DA's press release says.
But the brothers pulled the same kind of prank just hours later at the University of California, Irvine, the DA's office said, prompting more emergency calls to police.
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The so-called pranks were filmed and made into a YouTube video that the twins shared on their channel on October 20 of 2019 titled "BANK ROBBER PRANK! (gone wrong)." The video had more than one million views, but it has since been deleted.
"These crimes could have easily resulted in someone being seriously hurt or killed," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement Wednesday.
"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."
Alex and Alan did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.