“He’s been extraordinarily supportive and has never tried to influence anything we’ve done,” McCabe said last night.
Alicea, Mora and Saldana were “actually doing reasonably well” in the program, McCabe said.
“I’m actually kind of stunned. In the past week, we just put together a life plan with one of the these kids. He seemed really into it,” McCabe said.
Isensee said it’s not unusual for the DPW to welcome such workers. In the past, the department has worked with county jail inmates and juveniles and adults on probation referred through the trial court.
“We will take anybody. We are that desperate,” Isensee said.
The grant money was earmarked to help 80 young men with criminal records or known to be members of gangs. They are provided job training, GED classes and anger management counseling. McCabe, during the unveiling ceremony last spring, said the goal was to bring stability to the young men’s lives.
Friday night, after barricading themselves in the convenience store, police said Alicea, Mora and Saldana tried to shoot their way out of a locked back door, but failed and surrendered when police surrounded the 280 So. Union St. market.
Police are still looking for a suspected getaway driver who was seen pulling away in a maroon, four-door, American-made car, possibly an Oldsmobile, when police arrived.
Alicea has also been charged in a Jan. 9 robbery. A man said he was robbed of $300 when he arranged through Facebook to meet someone to buy an iPhone.
Tomorrow, Alicea, Mora and Saldana will be arraigned in Lawrence District Court on the following charges: armed and masked robbery, kidnapping, unlawful possession of a firearm, discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.