Sam Brinton, the senior Energy Department (DOE) official who identifies as non-binary, was charged with stealing a traveler’s luggage in the Minneapolis airport in September prior to taking a leave of absence.
Brinton serves as the Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition. Brinton allegedly took a Vera Bradley suitcase worth over $2,000 from the luggage carousel at the Minneapolis airport on September 16. A criminal complaint filed on October 26 in Minnesota state court was obtained by Fox News.
The suitcase’s owner alerted police, and officers reviewed the security cameras of the carousel. Brinton was seen stealing the luggage and removing its tag, police allege. Law enforcement says that Brinton used the luggage during two trips to DC on Sept 18 and Oct 9.
Brinton denied stealing anything when asked by a police officer.
“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.”
Brinton later would call the officer and apologize for not being “completely honest.”
“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.”
“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.