Home News Department of Energy senior official charged with stealing designer luggage at an...

Department of Energy senior official charged with stealing designer luggage at an airport

Sam Brinton, a gender-fluid LGBTQ activist who was working for the Trevor Project at the time, poses for a photo at the Oscars in 2018. (Robin Abcarian/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

A senior official with the Department of Energy reportedly took a leave of absence after being charged with stealing luggage at an airport in Minnesota.

Sam Brinton, the DOE deputy assistant secretary, oversees the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and waste.

Brinton was charged with the theft of a $2,325 Vera Bradley suitcase from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on September 16.

Brinton had been flying from DC to MSP on the day the theft took place, and was spotted using the suitcase on two separate occasions.

When a police officer called to discuss the incident, Brinton denied stealing anything.

According to FOX News, Brinton claimed that the bag was his.

“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.”

Two hours later, however, Brinton called back and came clean, blaming fatigue from the flight for the mistake.

“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.”

Brinton was charged with felony theft of a movable property without consent. The maximum penalties include a half-decade in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

Brinton, who is one of the first non-binary officials to hold a DOE seat, went on leave shortly after.

“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 said in a statement.

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