Update: Alex and Alan Stokes' defense team released a statement, claiming their clients were wrongfully accused of crimes they did not commit.
“Our clients have no criminal record. They have never been arrested in their lives. They have had a highly successful YouTube channel for the past three years. None of the prior creative videos they have posted on their YouTube channel (which total in excess of 124 videos) have ever been challenged or taken down for inappropriate content. The twins have 4.9 million YouTube subscribers. We strongly believe when the evidence is presented in this case it will show that our clients are not guilty of any crimes.
“Alex and Alan Stokes were never arrested or even cited for these charges. They have not been required to post bail in this case and remain free from custody. There are no restrictions that have been placed upon their ability to continue to produce creative and high-quality content on their YouTube channel.”
Twin YouTube stars Alex and Alan Stokes, who are widely known as the "Stokes Twins," are facing legal charges after taking a practical joke slightly too far back in October 2019.
The 23-year-old identical brothers boast almost 5 million subscribers on their YouTube page, which is predominantly filled with goofy videos and generally light-hearted pranks. So, were the Stokes Twins actually arrested?
“These were not pranks,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a press release. “These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed.
So, what did the Stokes Twins allegedly do?
In a video posted on Oct. 20, which has since been deleted, Alex and Alan were seen performing two different fake bank robberies in Irvine, Calif., which resulted in serious consequences. The pranks, which were pulled on Oct. 15, consisted of the brothers dressing in black with ski masks and duffle bags of cash, pretending to rob a bank with their videographer filming them, according to a press release published by the Orange County DA's office.
After the first "robbery," the boys ordered an Uber. The driver was completely unaware that all of this was simply part of a prank, and he refused to drive them. That's when a nearby bystander, who believed the boys were carjacking the driver, called authorities. Police came and ended up holding the driver at gunpoint, before hearing the full story.
"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," Officer Todd Spitzer said. "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.”
Were the Stokes Twins actually arrested? They're facing legal charges.
After the first "robbery," the brothers were issued a harsh warning about their problematic prank before being let go, according to the police report. However, a few hours later, they apparently pulled a similar prank on the UC Irvine campus, and after receiving emergency calls, authorities decided to take action.
The boys were issued a court summons, and on Wednesday, Aug. 5, they were charged with one felony count of false imprisonment, by way of violence, menace, fraud, or deceit, as well as one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency.
However, the Stokes Twins legal team claims that the brothers not only contacted the Irvine Police Department’s non-emergency line on two different occasions to give them notice of their plan to create this “prank video” for their YouTube channel, but when police arrived on the scene on the day of the alleged incident, they did not arrest nor cite the Stokes Twins.
This wasn't the Stokes' Twins first encounter with law enforcement.
On July 15, 2018, the Stokes posted a video titled, "CRAZY DARES IN GROCERY STORE! (WE GOT ARRESTED)." It garnered 73,000 likes and almost 2,000,000 views, and as the video says, the boys got arrested for their grocery store antics.
However, it didn't seem as though they were charged at the time. This appears to be their first time receiving serious repercussions for their actions.