Energy Dept. Official Fired After Allegedly Stealing Luggage

Sam Brinton was one of the first openly non-binary people hired by the federal government
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2022 12:37 AM CST

Sam Brinton, who made headlines when they became one of the federal government's first openly non-binary officials, is no longer employed by the Department of Energy after they were accused of stealing luggage on two separate occasions from two different airports. Brinton, 35, is accused of stealing a woman's bag at Las Vegas' Harry Reid International Airport on July 6, less than a month after they were hired by the Energy Department, 8 News Now reports. When that bag was reported stolen, police initially struggled to identify a suspect—but then another woman reported her bag had been stolen on Sept. 16 from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the Star-Tribune reports. When Brinton was identified as a suspect in that case, Las Vegas police connected them to the July case using surveillance footage.

Brinton, who was previously the deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy, has now been charged in both thefts. Police say the value of the first piece of luggage and the property inside was $3,670, and the second was worth more than $2,500, the Daily Beast reports. Brinton initially denied taking the luggage when contacted by police, then later allegedly confessed to taking it but said they'd been confused and thought it was theirs. "Sam Brinton is no longer a DOE employee. By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters," the department said in a statement Monday night. CNN reports that some on the right had been calling for Brinton to be fired. After news broke that they had been, GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde tweeted, "I hope this fiasco makes the Biden Administration think twice before prioritizing wokeness above competence again." (More Department of Energy stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.