The “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of US” Facebook event, set up in June, urges conspiracy theorists to break into the Nevada Test and Training Range, known as Area 51, to “see the aliens,” a joke based around a conspiracy theory that the government keeps aliens there.
Being initially scheduled for September 20th, after months of controversy, organizers of the viral campaign decided to set up a festival called “Alien Stock” in the middle of the desert.
In this way, all of the Area 51 enthusiasts could gather safely and legally.
However, the idea of thousands of curiosity seekers in their neighborhood did not sound fun to locals in the small town of Rachel, Nevada.
Therefore, the website of the town announced that residents would defend their property by force if they had to, saying that “the situation could get ugly.” It added that people are worried that the event would attract crooks who sought to “capitalize on the chaos.”
The “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” event collected over 2 million RSVPs before organizers canceled it due to poor organization.
However, the official plan to storm the secret military base located in the desert was just a joke, but not everybody was aware of it.
Two Dutch YouTubers, 21-year-old Wilhelmus Jacob Sweep and 20-year-old Ties Granzier, have already been arrested for trespassing on the Nevada National Security Site, which is a government nuclear facility located 10 miles away from Area 51.
Located about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, and about 10 miles from Area 51, the Nevada National Security Site is a secure area where scientists conduct top-secret nuclear experiments and help secure the country’s nuclear deterrent.
The men had flown all the way to the United States to attend the event. Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said that the department is still expecting “numerous people” to arrive in the area and have asked neighboring law enforcement agencies for assistance.
The Nye County Sheriff’s Office found their vehicle parked three blocks inside the nuclear site before they were detained and questioned by authorities. The police found a drone, a laptop, and a camera inside.
Granzier and Sweep allowed deputies to review the video, which showed footage from inside the secure area.
They told deputies that they speak, write, and read English, and noticed the ‘No Trespassing’ signs at the Mercury highway entrance to the Nevada National Security Site, but they wanted to look at the facility.
The two appeared to be some distance from Area 51, the popular site that has become synonymous with alleged alien encounters and extraterrestrial conspiracy theorists.
Granzier, who goes by the name “Ties” on YouTube, has over 730,000 subscribers on the platform, and Sweep has more than 300,000.
Before he was arrested, Granzier posted a selfie on his Instagram account at the Grand Canyon, informing his followers he was headed to Area 51 and included a small alien emoji.
The selfie was shared with the caption: “It has always been a dream to be here, now to crazy recordings of crazy adventures and … area 51 …”
According to the US Department of Justice, the YouTubers, if convicted, could face a maximum sentence of six months in prison, a $500 fine, or both.
Despite the jovial nature of the Facebook event, the US Air Force issued a warning to those traveling to the Nevada Test and Training Range on September 20.
According to Air Force spokesman Maj. Ethan Stroker, the US Air Force is aware of the Facebook post, and any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous.