UPDATED: Two school workers charged in $470,000 theft from cafeterias

[UPDATED 1:05 p.m. and 12:48 p.m. Aug. 13] Two former New Canaan Public Schools employees have been arrested and charged with larceny and defrauding a public community after a police investigation showed over $470,000 in cash was allegedly stolen from Saxe Middle School cafeteria and New Canaan High School cafeteria during a five-year period of 2012 to 2017, according to New Canaan Police on Aug. 13.

The two persons arrested as suspects responsible for the thefts are Joanne Pascarelli, 61, of Stratford, Conn. and her sister Marie Wilson, 67, of Wilton.

In an Aug. 13 press release New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski announced that following a lengthy and detailed investigation arrest warrants were reviewed by a state’s attorney and a Superior Court judge, who found probable cause and signed both arrest warrants.

Wilson surrendered herself to New Canaan Police on Aug. 11 and was released on $50,000 bond with a court date of August 21, 2018.

[1:05 UPDATE] According to Krolikowski’s press release, the theft of funds may have started before 2012, but the investigation did not focus on the years before 2012 “due to direction by the state’s attorney’s office because of statutes of limitation.”

For the five-year period of 2012-2017, approximately $478,588 in cash was misappropriated, according to the chief’s announcement.

Krolikowski also provide a brief summary of the investigation:

“On 12/21/2017 the New Canaan Board of Education filed a complaint with the New Canaan Police Investigative Section that financial discrepancies were discovered with the handling of cash at Saxe Middle School cafeteria and New Canaan High School cafeteria.

“Detectives from the New Canaan Police Department Investigation section embarked on a lengthy and involved investigation into the complaints reported at both schools. Investigators monitored both cafeteria operations and interviewed multiple cafeteria workers over the course of several months.

“The investigation involved 1) conducting approximately twenty interviews; 2) examining financial records and other evidence; 3) consulting with the Stamford state’s attorney; 4) applying for two arrest warrants.

“At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigation determined that: (a) There were two suspects responsible for the thefts, Joanne Pascarelli (formerly employed at Saxe Middle School cafeteria), and her sister Marie Wilson (previously employed at New Canaan High School cafeteria)."

[For statement from New Canaan Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bryan Luizzi, click here.] 

[12:48 UPDATE] An attorney for Wilson, Mark Sherman, submitted a statement regarding Wilson's arrest. Sherman said the accusations are false and misleading and that Wilson will be pleading not guilty at her arraignment.

“There is much more to this story,” Sherman said. “Marie is innocent and did not personally divert a single nickel of town money for personal gain. She is not going to be scapegoated for this missing money.”