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Energy Official Sam Brinton Accused of Stealing Luggage Again: Report


  • Energy Department official Sam Brinton has been accused of stealing airport luggage again.
  • Brinton was charged last month with taking a mother’s Vera Bradley suitcase from a Minnesota airport.
  • Now, a warrant has reportedly been issued over accusations that Brinton stole luggage in Las Vegas.

Sam Brinton, a top Energy Department official in the Biden administration, has been accused for a second time of stealing luggage at a US airport, according to a Nevada report. 

Brinton — the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition at the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy — was charged last month with felony theft over accusations they swiped a mother’s Vera Bradley suitcase from an airport in Minnesota, court documents obtained by Insider showed. 

Now, a felony arrest warrant has been issued for Brinton — who is one of the federal government’s first openly “gender fluid” employees and uses they/them pronouns — after they were accused of stealing luggage from Las Vegas, Nevada’s Harry Reid International Airport, 8 News Now reported on Thursday, citing sources. 

The warrant is for a charge of grand larceny with a value between $1,200 and $5,000, according to 8 News Now. The date of the alleged incident was not clear and other details were not immediately available.

An attorney for Brinton — who has been placed on leave from their post with DOE — did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Insider on Friday. 

The DOE told Insider in a statement on Friday that the agency “takes criminal charges against DOE employees and clearance holders very seriously” as it said that “Sam Brinton, a career civil servant, is on administrative leave.”

“The Department is limited by law on what it can disclose on personnel matters, such as an employee’s clearance status,” it said. “Generally, as the Department has previously stated, if a DOE clearance holder is charged with a crime, the case would be immediately considered by DOE personnel security officials, and depending on the circumstances, that review could result in suspension or revocation of the clearance.”

Brinton, 35, was placed on leave by the DOE last month after they were accused of taking a woman’s Vera Bradley suitcase from baggage claim at Minnesota’s Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on September 16, according to court filings. 

The 26-inch navy blue hard-sided roller bag and its contents were estimated to be worth $2,325, a criminal complaint filed in late October said. 

Surveillance footage captured Brinton taking the Vera Bradley luggage from the carousel at around 4:45 p.m. after Brinton arrived at the airport on an American Airlines flight from Washington, DC, the court documents allege. 

The complaint also says records from American Airlines showed Brinton never checked a bag before they left Washington, DC.

Briton was caught on surveillance footage checking into a luxury riverfront hotel in St. Paul with the bag and was later seen on two other occasions traveling with the luggage, the complaint alleges. 

When an investigator called Brinton, they at first denied taking someone else’s bag, but then apologized in another call for not being “completely honest,” according to the court papers. 

Brinton then told a Minnesota police officer that they were tired and picked up the wrong bag and only realized when they got to the hotel and opened the suitcase. 

The complaint says Brinton “got nervous people would think they stole the bag and did not know what to do.” The court filings state that Brinton told police they left the clothes from the bag inside the drawers in the hotel room and admitted to taking the bag back to the airport. 

Meanwhile, 16 Republican lawmakers sent a letter this week to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm demanding Brinton’s resignation. 

“It is imperative that we do not allow a person charged with a felony to influence America’s policies,” the Republicans wrote.