(CN) — Two California men who tried to film a fake bank robbery with an unsuspecting Uber driver this past October got a warning from responding police. They tried it again a few hours later and now face charges of felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor swatting.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office says twin brothers Alan and Alex Stokes, known online as the Stokes Twins and have built a YouTube following with their staged pranks, went too far with back-to-back fake bank robberies in Irvine, California, on Oct. 15, 2019.
The 23-year-old twins ordered an Uber, dressed in black and wearing ski masks. They were carrying bags full of cash and acted as though they had just robbed a bank while someone else filmed them getting into the Uber, according Orange County DA Todd Spitzer.
Their Uber driver refused to drive them, and someone who witnessed the exchange thought it was a carjacking and called police, according to the charging document.
Police ordered the driver out of the car at gunpoint, but then released the person after they figured out the driver was not involved. The twins got off easy with a warning.
Four hours later, they tried to do the same thing again.
This time, the Stokes brothers tried to carry out their prank at the University of California, Irvine, and again, police responded to reports of a bank robbery.
Spitzer did not find the situation funny and said the brothers’ actions could have resulted in someone “getting seriously injured or even killed.” He noted officers that respond to reports of a bank robbery are going to act accordingly.
“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,” said Spitzer.
The Stokes Twins have 4 million YouTube subscribers and 25.4 million followers on the TikTok app.
If convicted of both charges, they face a maximum four years in state prison.