Alan and Alex Stokes, who perform on TikTok and YouTube as the Stokes Twins, are in hot water after a couple of ill-advised pranks last October.
They’ve been charged with one felony count of “false imprisonment affected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit” and one misdemeanor count of “falsely reporting an emergency.” The misdemeanor is sometimes referred to as “swatting,” and it has been deadly in the past.
The maximum sentence possible is 4 years in prison.
So what happened?
The 23-year-old twin brothers filmed themselves pretending to rob a bank and then ordering an Uber as their getaway vehicle. Sensibly, the Uber driver refused to give them (and their cameraman) a ride.
According to a witness on the scene, it truly looked as though the men had robbed a bank and were carjacking the driver. Police thought so too; law enforcement officers ordered everyone out of the car with guns drawn.
It’s hard not to imagine that, had the Stokes Twins been black, this story would have had a much different ending. As it is, the police issued a warning to the pranksters and let them go.
But that wasn’t the end of their day. The Stokes Brothers tried the same prank again, this time on the USC Irvine campus.
“These were not pranks,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. “These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed.”
The brothers reportedly ran along the street with duffel bags full of cash, trying to convince bystanders to give them a ride or clothing for disguises. They posted a video of themselves preparing for the prank, dressing in black hoodies and ski masks, and then of themselves running from the bank and confronting the police.
The video has since been removed, but the charges still stand.
Last week, YouTube superstar Jake Paul (23) also found himself in trouble with the law. Although police decided not to proceed with the criminal trespass charges against Paul after he was caught on film looting an Arizona mall in June, he isn’t yet in the clear.
The FBI raided Paul’s mansion last week. They did not give any details about what they were looking for, beyond stating that the search was part of an ongoing investigation. The warrant was sealed by a judge, so we truly don’t know what happened or even whether Paul is accused of a particular crime.
The assumption online is that the FBI was looking for more evidence related to the mall looting charges. An anonymous insider told TMZ that the sheriff’s office then seized multiple firearms from the mansion, as confirmed by footage obtained by ABC.