Variety Kids Telethon donation box thief arrested

Stolen from West Seneca pizzeria
Posted at 5:50 AM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-18 22:21:46-04

A West Seneca pizzeria's Facebook post showing a thief caught on surveillance camera has gone viral, likely due to the thief's target.

Picasso's Pizza says on Tuesday morning, a woman was caught on video stealing the restaurant's Variety Kids Telethon donation box, which had about $50 to $75. The telethon, held every year on 7ABC, raises money for organizations that help kids with serious illnesses or disabilities. The Variety Club holds fundraisers year-round to help these children.

On Wednesday evening, West Seneca police report 21-year-old Kali Nowak, of West Seneca, has been arrested and admitted to the crime. Police say a tip from a citizen assisted in locating Nowak.

Picasso's posted surveillance video of the theft on its Facebook page. It shows a woman walking up and picking up the large plastic collection box. The woman pushes the box into a black shoulder bag and walks off.

While many on social media were angry that someone would steal from a children's charity, Nicole Quarantillo who has a special connection with Variety Club, said that she isn't judging the woman who did it.

"We don't know what she is going through. Maybe she is going through a struggle," she said.

She credits the Variety Club with saving her family.

"My son was born three months premature," she said. "They are apart of saving my son's life."

Even though she said that this incident could mean that certain kids don't get the same resources her son got, she said she wants to forgive the woman who did it."

"Hate is such an evil thing. And when you hate somebody or hate what they've done, it builds within you and comes off of you, and I don't believe in that. I believe in the energy you give off surrounds you," she said.

Rather, Quarantillo said that she believes in the power of karma.

Picasso's Pizza posted a Facebook statement about a day and a half after it all transpired.

"Today, with some passed time and cooler heads, we recognize that we're all only human. What matters most to us (besides pizza, of course) is that the Variety - the Children's Charity of Buffalo & WNY has the funds to help Western New York children in need. We made a donation today and hope you'll consider doing the same."


Take WKBW Everywhere, on all your devices.  Download below!

Phone or Tablet: Apple, Android
Set-top Device: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Alexa

Personalize your news, get the latest 7 First Alert Forecast, and watch 7 Eyewitness News video wherever, whenever.

Learn more here about what 7 Eyewitness News provides on all these devices.