Twin brothers who star in prank shows on a popular YouTube channel were sentenced to community service for their guilty pleas to charges related to fake bank robberies in Irvine that resulted in their Uber driver being held at gunpoint by police, the Orange County District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.
Alan and Alex Stokes, 23, were each sentenced by an Orange County Superior Court judge Tuesday to 160 hours of community service, one year of formal probation and ordered to pay restitution, according to Kimberly Edds, the public information officer with the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
The judge also ordered them to stay away from UC Irvine and to stop making videos that mimic criminal behavior.
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The Irvine residents had been each charged with one felony count of false imprisonment effected by violence, menace fraud or deceit and two misdemeanor counts of falsely reporting an emergency in connection with the Oct. 15, 2019 pranks.
They each faced a maximum sentence of five years in jail if convicted on all counts.
The guilty pleas were in exchange for the judge reducing the felony false imprisonment charge to a misdemeanor. Prosecutors objected on the record and in a trial brief to the court's offer to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor, Edds said.
The Stokes brothers were dressed completely in black, wearing ski masks and carrying duffle bags full of cash as they pretended they just robbed a bank while their videographer filmed them, Edds said.
The brothers ordered an Uber, and the driver -- who was not aware of the prank -- refused to drive them, Edds said.
A bystander witnessed the events and believed the brothers had robbed a bank and were attempting to carjack the Uber driver, according to Edds. Irvine Police Department officers arrived at the scene and ordered the driver out of his car at gunpoint.
The driver was released after police determined he was not involved in the prank. Officers warned the Stokes brothers about the dangers of their behavior and let them go.
Four hours later, the brothers performed the same prank at UC Irvine, Edds said. Irvine police officers again received calls regarding a potential bank robbery.
"These crimes could have easily resulted in someone being seriously hurt or killed," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. "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."
He continued, "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."