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Criminal Hides In Dumpster; Gets Compacted 8 Times

Criminal Hides In Dumpster; Gets Compacted 8 Times

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Akron Beacon Journal

September 24, 2010

ALLIANCE, OH – A suspected shoplifter was injured Wednesday morning when he jumped into a trash bin and ended up getting compacted in a garbage truck.

James Michael Brienzo, 37, of Barberton, was taken by medical helicopter to a Cleveland hospital after he was freed from the compacted garbage, said Lt. Bill Morris of the Alliance Police Department.

‘’It was mostly cardboard,’’ said Morris, who assisted in the rescue from the truck. ‘’He was injured pretty severely.’’

Police were initially called around 6 a.m. about a suspected theft in progress at the Wal-Mart store at 2700 W. State St.

Responding officers located an unoccupied vehicle parked and left running near a rear door of the store, Morris said.

Police said Brienzo exited the store through a nearby fire door with a shopping cart full of merchandise. He then ran from the officers.

The officers gave chase, but lost sight of the suspect when he fled into the darkness behind the store.

About an hour later, Alliance dispatchers received a call from Akron claiming to be a friend of Brienzo’s. The man told police that Brienzo had just called him and said he had been hiding in a Dumpster near the Wal-Mart when it was picked up and dumped into a trash truck. The Akron man told the dispatcher that his friend needed help.

Officers began searching for the trash truck. Meanwhile, dispatchers made contact with the suspect on his cell phone.

‘’We spoke with him a little bit until the truck started compacting,’’ and Brienzo started screaming, Morris said.

Dispatchers began tracking Brienzo’s whereabouts using the global positioning system on his cell phone.

Officers stopped the truck on North Walnut Avenue at River Street and climbed into it in an attempt to free the suspect. Unable to extricate him, they had the truck emptied at the Alliance recycling center.

‘’It was a good thing we found him. It was the last stop before he was headed to Warren. He wouldn’t have made it,’’ Morris said.

Brienzo was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Canton by ambulance then transported to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he is being treated.

Police said they are continuing their investigation of the incident.

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