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Pulling a fake bank robbery prank surrounded by people who have no idea what you're up to should seem like a recipe for disaster.
It's a lesson identical twins Alan and Alex Stokes, aged 24, have learned the hard way.
In the summer of last year, the duo - who have 6.66m YouTube subscribers and 29.9m followers on TikTok - were each charged with one felony count of false imprisonment affected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit.
They were also slapped with a misdemeanour count of falsely reporting an emergency in connection with the October 2019 pranks.
Despite the fact they faced up to five years in the slammer, court documents filed on Wednesday (31 March) confirmed they were sentenced to 160 hours community service and a year's probation.
In one of the offending pranks they called an Uber and told the unwitting taxi driver that their getaway vehicle and driver hadn't turned up.
The brothers' videographer filmed them entering the Uber dressed all in black and wearing ski masks. The pair were also carrying duffel bags full of cash, pretending they had just robbed a bank.
A bystander witnessed the exchange and, believing the Stokes brothers had actually robbed a bank, called the police thinking they had also attempted to carjack the Uber driver.
Although the driver refused to take the twins anywhere, he was later ordered out of his car at gunpoint by police, and was released only after police realised he hadn't been involved in the stunt.
After discovering the truth of the situation, the police issued the brothers with a warning about how dangerous their conduct was and let them go.
Just hours later, however, the twins performed the same prank again on a university campus.
As a result, law enforcement received a number of emergency calls regarding a bank robbery that was taking place - understandably, the authorities didn't find it the slightest bit amusing.
As reported by the BBC, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said: "These crimes could have easily resulted in someone being seriously hurt or killed.
"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."
As said, they could've landed themselves in jail for their actions - it looks like the judge went easy on them, probably knowing that they'll never try to pull anything this stupid again.
Words: Daisy Phillipson
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