Samuel Brinton, the energy official for the Biden administration now accused of stealing multiple pieces of luggage from airports, has reportedly been fired by the Department of Energy.
“Sam Brinton is no longer a DOE employee. By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters,” a spokesperson for the DOE said on Monday.
The government official initially made recent headlines for the alleged theft of a woman’s suitcase from a Minneapolis airport in September, and then again after reportedly stealing another bag from an airport in Las Vegas.
On Thursday, December 8, a felony warrant on grand larceny charges was issued for Brinton.
Brinton, 35, has served as the Department of Energy’s deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition since June but was placed on a leave of absence after being charged with a felony for the earlier alleged theft — a charge which has the accused facing up to five years in prison — as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Now, Brinton faces up to 10 years after allegedly stealing the second suitcase with an estimated worth of $3,670 at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. The bag contained jewelry worth $1,700, clothing valued at $850, and makeup worth $500, according to a report filed by a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detective on Wednesday.
The detective wrote that a woman traveling from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas on July 6 reported one of her checked bags missing, after which police reviewed security camera footage and saw “a white male adult wearing a white t-shirt with a large rainbow-colored atomic nuclear symbol design” removing luggage that matched the victim’s description before promptly leaving the airport.
Police were unable to identify a suspect and subsequently closed the investigation. After news outlets reported on Brinton’s alleged September theft, however, investigators noted that Brinton matched their suspect’s description.
The officer who previously closed the case “immediately recognized” Brinton “as the suspect pertaining to this case.” Investigators reopened the case and confirmed that Brinton traveled on the same flight as the July victim. Police then found a selfie posted to Instagram in which Brinton was apparently wearing the same rainbow-colored atomic symbol shirt.
Brinton captioned the post, “Thank you to @americannuclear for selling such a great shirt for me to wear on my flight today. My professional society continues to grow and learn and I’m proud of them. Goodness how we have changed since my service as chapter president and then on the National Board of Directors. #NuclearPride.”
The Vegas detective wrote, “Brinton demonstrated several signs of abnormal behavior while taking the victim’s luggage which are cues suspects typically give off when committing luggage theft. Specifically, Brinton pulled the victim’s luggage from the carousel and examined the tag.”
The report went on to say that Brinton placed the luggage back on the carousel, looked around, and only then picked the bag back up and walked away.
Additionally, “Brinton had already claimed from the carousel, [and] had no reason to be examining and taking any other pieces of luggage,” the report read.
The detective’s report found probable cause that Brinton committed grand larceny with intent to permanently deprive the owner of her property, after which the warrant for Brinton’s arrest was issued.
In response, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) and 15 other House Republicans sent a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm which called for Brinton’s permanent removal.
“We demand the resignation of Sam Brinton, and we implore you to set aside petty politics and appoint only the most qualified and dedicated individuals to influence America’s energy sector,” they wrote.