A senior Department of Energy official was charged with felony theft after stealing a piece of luggage from the Minneapolis airport in September - shortly before taking a leave of absence.
Sam Brinton, a gender-fluid nuclear expert who in 2015 defended underage gay prostitution website "Rentboy.com," allegedly took a Vera Bradley suitcase worth $2,325 from the luggage carousel at the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport (MSP) on September 16, Fox News reports, citing a criminal complaint filed Oct. 16 in Minnesota state court.
It’s official. As of June 19th, I now serve my nation as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy in the Department of Energy. pic.twitter.com/zLq3Bf97X2— Sam Brinton (@sbrinton) June 29, 2022
According to court filings, surveillance footage showed Brinton taking the luggage, then removing its tag identifying the owner, before leaving the airport. Brinton was observed using the luggage during at least two other trips to Washington DC - on Sept. 18 and Oct. 9.
When a police officer called Brinton on Oct. 9 for questioning, Brinton confirmed that he still possessed the suitcase, but then claimed it 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, adding "That was my clothes when I opened the bag."
Two hours later, Brinton called back and apologized for not being "completely honest," adding that taking the wrong bag was a mistake because ht was tired.
"DEFENDANT said when they opened the bag at the hotel, they realized it was not theirs," reads the court filing. "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 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.
Minnesota-based outlet Alpha News first reported the charges against Brinton on Monday.
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 didn't explain why Brinton took leave at the time. -Fox News
Sounds like Brinton can add 'klepto' to their resume.