A gang of YouTube pranksters have been jailed after they staged a fake art heist at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The stunt was described in court as ‘warped and immature’, causing one woman to pass out and dozens of other visitors to rush from the gallery in fear, reports the International Business Times.
The prank involved members of the Trollstation group – Daniel Jarvis, 27, Endrit Ferizolli, 20, Ebenezer Mensah, 29, and 23-year-old Helder Gomes.
They had already smuggled paintings into the BP Portrait Award Exhibition and proceeded to ‘steal’ the fake high-value artwork, while Ferizolli carried a speaker and played a loud siren.
A notorious group of YouTube pranksters have been jailed for a total of 18 months for staging a 'terrifying' fake art heist at @NPGLondon…
— CourtNewsUK (@CourtNewsUK) May 16, 2016
Three other members pulled tights over their heads and picked up the paintings while another member, Danh Van Le – jailed for 24 weeks at Inner London Crown Court in March – filmed them.
The hoax took place on July 5 last year, just a week after the Tunisian beach massacre.
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Passing sentence, District Judge Mike Snow said:
I was told that the defendants believed what they were doing was funny. Their sense of humour is warped.
It was quite foreseeable those attending the gallery, not being in on the joke, but being familiar with recent scenes of people running for their lives from terrorist acts, would be terrified and panicked.
As he left the dock, film student Jarvis, reportedly gave a thumbs up and a peace sign to supporters in the public gallery – confirming reports that he is indeed, a total weapon.
They can’t really be too shocked – if you commit an actual crime, you’re probably going to end up in prison.