Brinton faces up to five years in prison and $10,000 fine for allegedly taking another person’s luggage
Sam Brinton, a senior Energy Department (DOE) official, was charged with stealing a traveler’s luggage in the Minneapolis airport in September, shortly before quietly taking a leave of absence.
Brinton — who serves as the DOE’s deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition — allegedly took a Vera Bradley suitcase worth $2,325 from the luggage carousel at the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport (MSP) on Sept. 16, according to a criminal complaint filed on Oct. 26 in Minnesota state court and obtained by Fox News Digital. Brinton had traveled from Washington, D.C., to MSP that day.
After the suitcase’s owner alerted police, officers reviewed video surveillance of the carousel and identified Brinton taking the luggage before removing its tag identifying the owner, the court filings stated. Law enforcement observed Brinton using the luggage during at least two other trips to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18 and Oct. 9.
“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 after the phone call, Brinton called the officer back and apologized for not being “completely honest.” But Brinton said it was a mistake and blamed being tired for taking the wrong bag at the carousel.