Senior Energy Department official, Sam Brinton, has been charged with stealing a traveler’s luggage in the Minneapolis airport in September. He took a leave of absence shortly after the incident. Allegedly, Brinton took a Vera Bradley suitcase worth $2,325 from the luggage carousel at the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport. The woman who owned the suitcase alerted police who reviewed video surveillance of the carousel and identified Brinton taking the luggage before removing its tag identifying the owner.
On October 9th, when questioned by police, Brinton denied stealing anything. “If I had taken the wrong bag, I am happy to return it, but I don’t have any clothes for another individual,” Brinton told the officer. “That was my clothes when I opened the bag.”
“DEFENDANT said when they opened the bag at the hotel, they realized it was not theirs,” the court filings stated. “DEFENDANT got nervous people would think they stole the bag and did not know what to do. DEFENDANT stated they left the clothes from the bag inside the drawers in the hotel room.”
According to Fox:
Brinton was ultimately charged with felony theft of a movable property without consent, a charge that could result in a five-year sentence, $10,000 fine or both.
Brinton was placed on leave about a month ago and another official was named as a replacement in the interim earlier this month, according to the Exchange Monitor which tracks government hires. The DOE originally didn’t explain why Brinton took leave at the time.
“Sam Brinton is on leave from DOE, and Dr. Kim Petry is performing the duties of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition,” a DOE spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement.
In June, Brinton made headlines after assuming the position in the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy as one of the government’s first-ever non-binary officials.