YouTube Pranksters Get Prison Time

They caused a panic with fake robberies at two London museums
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2016 4:10 PM CDT

Four YouTube pranksters will be spending the coming weeks locked up after pleading guilty to charges in connection with fake robberies and a kidnapping at two London art galleries, the BBC reports. According to Engadget, members of Trollstation caused a "mass panic" at the Tate Britain and National Portrait Gallery when they put stockings over their heads and pretended to steal paintings they had brought with them. In one incident they took a woman hostage after she agreed to participate ahead of time. Many people fled the galleries in a panic, with one women left unconscious by the commotion, BuzzFeed reports. One witness to the pranks, which took place while London was on a heightened alert following a terrorist attack in Tunisia, says she was "absolutely terrified."

The four members of the group, ranging in age from 20 to 29, were sentenced to between four and five months in prison Monday. "The hoaxes may have seemed harmless to them, but they caused genuine distress to a number of members of the public, who should be able to go about their daily business without being put in fear in this way," a member of the Crown Prosecution Service tells the BBC. Engadget quotes a judge, who said of Trollstation: "Their sense of humor is warped and immature." A fifth member of the group was jailed in March in connection with a prank involving a fake bomb. Trollstation, which has more than 700,000 YouTube subscribers, says it plans to "reevaluate" its pranks. (More pranks stories.)

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