LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN (WXOW)-- A Logan High School teen arrested in connection with an armed robbery back in October, is facing additional charges.
De'Aaron Appleton was arrested in October along with two other teens, all claiming to be affiliated with a gang that calls themselves the Get Money Boys.
Tuesday Appleton was in court to face two new felonies: armed robbery with the use of force and armed burglary. The latest charges are in connection with a robbery that occurred on October 5. According the criminal complaint, the suspects entered a home, held the occupants at gun point and stole money, marijuana and electronics. Appleton will be in court again December 4 for a preliminary hearing.
So far four teens arrested in connection with armed robberies around the city have claimed to be affiliated with the Get Money Boys. According to police the group targets known drug dealers in their robberies. Three of those teens were arrested at a Logan High School football game.
To help avoid the spread of these groups, area police officers try to educate students about the dangers of gangs. The program is called G.R.E.A.T., which stands for gang resistance education and training. G.R.E.A.T. presents to students as young as 4th grade.
The idea is to help students with ways to resist peer pressure and to openly talk about the consequences of joining a gang.
"Middle school is kind of the transition year. That's when a lot of kids are growing and kind of discovering themselves. So if you can get them good information then about what the proper choice is they're more likely to follow a good path," said Officer Kurt Weaver, with the La Crosse Police Department. "Part of what we teach in lessons is when you have gangs, you will have violence you will have drugs, they're all intertwined. Usually if you've got one, you've got the other."
Officer Weaver says one big misconception among kids is how many of their peers join gangs.
He says typically students guess about 50 percent of students are members of a gang, but the number, nationally, is much lower, at just about 7 percent. Weaver says knowing that, makes students realize making that bad choice is not what most kids are doing.
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