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Top official at Department of Energy out after allegations of luggage theft

U.S. Department of Energy
Posted at 6:30 PM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 01:20:33-05

A top U.S. Energy Department official focusing on nuclear fuel and radioactive waste is no longer employed with the federal agency after multiple allegations of baggage theft incidents at airports.

Court records show that Sam Brinton, 35, a former deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition with the U.S. Office of Nuclear Energy, was charged this month with grand larceny.

Brinton faces accusations that they stole luggage from Harry Reid International Airport, KLAS reported.

A DOE spokesperson said, “Sam Brinton is no longer a DOE employee. By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters.”

According to reports, Brinton was the subject of a felony warrant for grand larceny.

As KLAS reported, a woman traveling from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Las Vegas on July 6 reported that she could not locate a piece of her luggage she checked with United Airlines.

Days later the passenger filed a police report describing the luggage as gray with a hardshell valued at $320. The individual reported the total value of its contents at over $3,670.

The warrant said, “Brinton pulled the victim’s luggage from the carousel and examined the tag. Then placed it back on the carousel, looking in all directions for anyone who might be watching, or might approach. Pulling it back off the carousel and demonstrating the same behavior by looking around before walking away with it quickly."

A DOE spokesperson said Brinton was on leave from work when they were accused.

Brinton was also previously charged with luggage theft at a Minnesota airport after allegedly taking another passenger's checked baggage from a carousel.

According to a criminal complaint in that case, as CNN reported, Brinton admitted to not being "completely honest," when they denied taking the luggage.

They said they were tired and thought the suitcase be them.

Brinton's first appearance in court for that case is scheduled for February 2023.

A White House spokesperson told CNN that Brinton was not appointed by the White House.

“They are a career civil service employee, and consistent with how personnel actions are handled for nearly 2 million civil service employees across the federal government, I have to refer you to (the Department of Energy) for more information,” the White House official said.