ALLIANCE - A man hiding from police in a dumpster soon found he needed help from police.
A theft in progress was reported at the Alliance Wal-Mart at 6:05 a.m. Wednesday. There, city police found a vehicle parked near the back door, unoccupied and running.
When a person left the store through a fire door with a shopping cart full of merchandise, police said, he saw officers and fled on foot. Police chased him, but lost him in the darkness behind the store.
At 6:55 a.m., dispatchers received a telephone call from a man in Akron, who said he had just received a cell phone call from a friend, James Michael Brienzo, who had been hiding in a dumpster near the Alliance Wal-Mart. The dumpster had been emptied into a trash truck with Brienzo inside, the caller said.
As Alliance police began searching for a garbage truck, both Alliance dispatchers and a Stark County dispatcher were able to briefly contact Brienzo on his cell and began tracking it using GPS. Police were able to locate and stop the BFI trash compacting truck on North Walnut at River Street.
Climbing inside, police found Brienzo, but were still not able to free him. The truck had to be emptied at the nearby Alliance Recycling Center in order to free him.
Brienzo was transported first to Mercy Medical Center in Canton by Stark Summit Ambulance, before he was transferred by helicopter to Metro Health in Cleveland. The matter remains under investigation.