Top 20 Times YouTubers got arrested
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Times YouTubers got arrested.
For this list, we’ll be looking at online creators that have been detained or charged with various crimes.
Which YouTuber do you think committed the wildest crime? Let us know in the comments below.
In 2013, YouTuber RossCreations landed in hot water after he performed what he thought was an innocent prank. He essentially flipped over a couple of police officers sitting on a picnic table, which led to them warning him that they wouldn’t hesitate to arrest him if he did it again. Things only got worse when the officers noticed Charles Ross was filming, after which they attempted to delete Ross’s video, ending in a physical brawl between them and the YouTuber. Once the dust settled, the prankster had been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for negligence. However, despite the response from the cops, many viewers were on Ross’s side, saying that the stunt may have been annoying, but not deserving of being arrested. The charge was ultimately dismissed.
#19: Hayes Grier
Alleged Assault & Robbery
Former Vine star Hayes Grier, who was once known for being the youngest male contestant on “Dancing with the Stars”, harmed his reputation after being arrested in 2021. According to the allegations, Grier had seriously injured someone, and had apparently stolen their expensive phone. There were even allegations that the assault caused the victim to develop brain damage. However, despite the injuries, a judge couldn’t discern who was at fault for the fight due to both people being intoxicated. Additionally, the robbery charges were dropped after it was revealed the phone was returned. While he may not have seen legal repercussions, there was certainly damage to his career – he didn’t post again on YouTube for over a year after the event, took a hit to his popularity and as of May 2023, hasn’t posted an update in that same year.
#18: Jack Gilinsky
Jack Gilinsky of Jack & Jack learned that firsthand after being accused of theft in 2016. The YouTuber-turned-Viner had claimed that he didn’t realize he had walked out without paying. While he tried paying for it after realizing his mistake, the staff still called security to investigate. Gilinsky’s collaborator, Jack Johnson, captured the whole event via Snapchat. The recordings also showcased how both creators found the situation funny at first– until they realized that the perpetrator would actually be facing consequences. Gilinsky also controversially offered to pay more than the article of clothing was worth. He was arrested and released on bail, although he later had to attend a court date for the crime.
#17: Stokes Twins
Fake Bank Robbery
YouTubers Alan and Alex Stokes decided to commit a prank where they would pretend to rob a bank. A stunt on this level is already risky enough. The twins took it to a whole new level when they roped in an innocent Uber driver, who had guns drawn on him by officers that believed he was helping them with their alleged crime. The craziest part is– they played this prank twice on the same day after already having been detained and released by officers from another jurisdiction. They were arrested the second time, and were charged with reporting false emergencies and false imprisonment. However, they were able to escape jail time, and were instead sentenced to over 100 hours of community service and restitution payment.
#16: Monalisa Perez
In 2017, Youtuber MonaLisa Perez and her boyfriend decided to film a video where they tested if a bullet could pierce through an encyclopedia. While Perez hadn’t wanted to go through with the stunt, her boyfriend insisted that she go through with it. Unfortunately, she listened, which ultimately led to his unfortunate death. The worst part is that the couple had children that were also impacted by this event. Despite the death being accidental, she was still charged with manslaughter, and sentenced to about 6 months in jail.
#15: Andrei Pyzh
Andrei Pyzh was mostly known for his videos where he would explore abandoned properties. His type of content was already risky enough, as accessing classified deserted buildings can be considered trespassing. No one could have anticipated what would actually get the popular influencer in trouble. Essentially, between 2018-20, Pyzh discovered plans for facilities that were supposedly being built in Moscow. After finding these plans, he then shared them with various people in Ukraine. Once Pyzh was found out, he was swiftly arrested. The creator was found guilty of spreading state secrets and subsequently sentenced to five years in prison.
#14: Daniel Silva
After celebrating his 25th birthday, popular influencer Corey La Barrie trusted his friend and fellow star Daniel Silva to drive him home. However, Silva was intoxicated and lost control of the car, hitting several things. While both men were injured, Silva attempted to flee the scene, and was only stopped by good Samaritans who happened to be nearby. La Barrie later passed away, to the dismay of his fans and loved ones. That dismay turned to anger when Silva published an apology video, wherein fans of La Barrie claimed he lied about attempting to leave. This led to swift calls for justice, and he was ultimately charged with manslaughter. However, he only received a short prison sentence, probation, and community service, which further angered those who felt he deserved a harsher punishment.
#13: Calum McSwiggan
Fake Gay Club Assault
In 2016, popular LGBTQ+ YouTuber Calum McSwiggan was arrested after being found vandalizing a car. He claimed that he was doing it after having been assaulted for his sexuality. While this initially drew outrage from his supporters, the police were quick to release their side of things. Apparently, the visible injuries McSwiggan had weren’t due to an attack prior to the vandalism. He had actually been seen beating himself with a pay phone, posting the self-inflicted injuries as proof following his arrest. After this was revealed, McSwiggan admitted the stitches to his head were his own fault, but stuck to the claim that he was attacked by three people. He was denounced by several members of the LGBTQ+ community, received probation and was made to complete anger management classes.
#12: Germán Abraham Loera Acosta
When a popular motivational YouTuber named Germán Abraham Loera Acosta was suddenly accused of kidnapping, his fans were understandably confused, as they only knew him as someone who gave positive life advice. However, his crime was darker than anyone could have guessed. He, along with several others, captured a lawyer and held her in a rented house for days, demanding several millions of pesos in Bitcoin for her safe release. Luckily, she was rescued after a few days, and the former YouTuber was arrested and sentenced to fifty years in prison for kidnapping.
Scamming the Elderly
While scamming in general isn’t a great thing to do, it’s something else entirely to target people more vulnerable to schemes, such as the elderly. So when GasKings– a popular YouTuber known for uploading car compilations– was exposed for scamming retirees of their pensions, people were understandably angry. He set up a website that claimed to invest pensions, and would promise a portion to the victim, and the rest to a charity supporting environmental causes. He would then pocket the remaining money. Before he was caught, he had reportedly stolen around a million pounds, and had scammed over 15 people. He was swiftly charged and sentenced to five years in prison, and his YouTube channel was deleted shortly after.
#10: Ruslan Sokolovsky
Pokémon GO to Orthodox Church
Pokémon GO was a craze that swept the world, encouraging kids and adults alike to travel their local areas while trying to catch their favorite Pokémon. The Russian government would prefer that you not catch them all, however—at least, not in church. The Russian media had warned that playing Pokémon GO on holy sites could result in jail time. But Russian YouTuber Ruslan Sokolovsky actively challenged this, going to Yekaterinburg’s Church of All Saints, and broadcasting his adventure to his followers. The YouTuber was given a suspended sentence of 3 and a half years for “inciting religious hatred”.
Fake Medical Emergency
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve realized you went too far? Vlogger PrinceZee learned this the hard way after attempting a prank in 2021, where he pretended to pass out while driving through Times Square. It’s unclear what reaction he was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t multiple cops sprinting over. By that point, the YouTuber was in too deep, and still pretended to be unconscious as they pulled him out. Multiple emergency services arrived, and once they found out it was a prank, they were unamused. He was subsequently charged with several crimes, including false reporting, and criminal nuisance.
#8: Kanghua Ren
Pranks can be a fun way to mess around with your friends. It’s a different matter entirely, however, when you target a vulnerable stranger. ReSet was a Spanish gaming and challenge YouTuber. In 2017 he decided he was going to prank a homeless man sitting on the street, feeding him Oreos that had the cream replaced with toothpaste. The man threw up after ingesting them, so Kanghua gave the victim €20 and then uploaded the video. Naturally, it received a lot of backlash. The prankster wasn’t remorseful at all in initial interviews, and was eventually arrested. In 2019, he was banned from YouTube, ordered to pay €20,000 to the man, and sentenced to 15 months in prison.
#7: Count Dankula
In 2016, Scottish YouTuber Mark Meechan, aka Count Dankula, decided it would be funny to upload a video of himself training his girlfriend’s pug to perform a Nazi salute. He also riled the dog up into reacting to an offensive, anti-Semitic question. This led to his arrest for being “grossly offensive”, which sparked public debates about freedom of speech. Meechan claimed that the video was just supposed to make his girlfriend laugh; but the court found that this “lacked credibility” since his girlfriend wasn’t subscribed to his channel. He was ordered to pay a £800 fine, but refused, instead donating the same amount to the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity. However, £800 was later seized from his bank account.
Fake Art Robbery
The members of this UK prank group have been arrested on several occasions over the years. In 2015, they donned tights over their heads and created a panic at the National Portrait and Tate Britain Galleries. Along with a speaker blaring alarm sounds, they shouted and acted like they were stealing paintings, terrifying the patrons and sending them running. The goal was to get a reaction out of the crowds, which… they sure did. The stunt resulted in members of the group being arrested, charged and given jail time for the havoc they caused.
Vitaly Zdorovetskiy is a prankster notorious for causing a scene. He’s even collaborated with Roman Atwood to fake an ATM robbery, which resulted in the two getting arrested! And that wasn't the last time Zdorovetskiy got in trouble. When on his own, it’s usually because he’s somewhere he’s not supposed to be. From streaking during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final, 2016 NBA Finals, and 2017 World Series, to climbing the Hollywood sign, he’s made a career out of breaking the rules. But none of those compare to the time he really peaked. The peak in question? One of the pyramids of Giza, which he climbed to the top of when visiting in 2020. The stunt landed him in jail for five days.
Drug Felony Charges
Alexander Wachs was a gaming streamer who was used to police kicking down his door, but not through any fault of his own. While streaming DayZ in 2014, Wachs quickly disappeared from his desk, only for an officer to come into frame with a dog sniffing around. Turns out he was Swatted. This was the third time that month that Alex and his housemate Kelly Popp had false reports called on them, but this time it ended badly. Marijuana was found on the property, prompting the YouTuber’s arrest. He wasn’t charged in the end, and the experience does not seem to have turned him off the green stuff.
#3: Jake Paul
Arrested During Riots
The Paul brothers are no strangers to legal trouble. In 2017, Logan was arrested in Italy for flying his drone over historic sites. Not to be outdone, in 2018 little brother Jake was sued for $2.5 million for property damage to his rental home. Then in 2020, during the George Floyd protests, he was present during a riot in a mall in Scottsdale, Arizona, leading to charges of criminal trespassing and unlawful assembly. He claimed he was filming for a future project. The case culminated in the FBI raiding his mansion, after which the charges were dropped.
Fake Death Leads to Abuse Allegations
Jason Matthew Ethier was a Canadian YouTuber who became infamous for his pranks and staged 3AM challenges. In 2018, he was arrested at Walt Disney World for trespassing and resisting arrest, but much worse was to come. In 2020, he announced that his girlfriend Alexia Marano had been killed in an accident with a drunk driver. He proceeded to make several videos milking her death for views where he visited the crash site, and even tried to talk to her ghost. But she wasn’t dead and the YouTube community was outraged. Marano left him and accused him of abuse, leading to his arrest and charges of assault and assault with a weapon. He and Marano ended up reuniting soon after, but not for long.
Holly Piazza and Brian Chase were the adults behind the camera of the many adventures of 9-year-old Rocco Piazza. During one of their videos, he and his nanny were buried neck-deep in water and Orbeez in the back of a pickup truck. The problem came when his mother drove them out onto a main road. Cars sped by as the pair bobbed around in the back. This video, along with another where Holly dumped all the plastic balls on a public road, caught the attention of local law enforcement. The couple was arrested for misdemeanor child endangerment and charged the cost of the subsequent clean-up.