Disgraced nuclear official Sam Brinton made his first court appearance Wednesday in Minneapolis related to his alleged theft of a woman’s luggage at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
BREAKING: Former Biden official Sam Brinton made his first court appearance today in Minneapolis related to his theft of a woman's luggage at MSP Airport. pic.twitter.com/NbBA59j0bm
— Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) February 15, 2023
At the time, Brinton was the deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the U.S. Department of Energy. He was fired from that position in December after facing charges in a second luggage heist.
Brinton was released with no bail required after Wednesday’s hearing and ordered to have no contact with the victim. His next hearing is scheduled for April 17, which the judge said can be conducted remotely.
Law enforcement at the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) International Airport were alerted to a missing suitcase in the baggage claim area on Sept. 16. The adult female victim said she flew into MSP on a Delta flight from New Orleans and went to retrieve her checked bag at carousel seven.
Airport records confirmed the navy blue Vera Bradley roller bag arrived at 4:40 p.m. but was missing from the carousel. So law enforcement reviewed video surveillance footage from the baggage claim area and observed Brinton removing a navy blue roller bag from carousel seven, according to a criminal complaint.
The complaint says Brinton removed a luggage tag from the bag, placed it into a handbag he was carrying, and “then left the area at a quick pace.” Brinton arrived at MSP Airport around 4:27 p.m. on an American Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., but did not check a bag, meaning he had no reason to visit baggage claim, according to the complaint.
Non-binary former Biden admin official Sam Brinton leaving court after appearing before a judge for stealing a woman’s luggage last October.
“Why would you want some lady’s dirty clothes?” pic.twitter.com/RaU17heSHK
— Rebecca Brannon (@RebsBrannon) February 15, 2023
Police showed the surveillance video to the victim and she confirmed it was her bag.
Brinton left the airport in an Uber for a stay at the InterContinental St. Paul Riverfront hotel, where he checked in with the blue bag, the complaint says.
He returned to MSP on Sept. 18 with the bag in hand for a departing flight back to Washington, D.C., authorities allege.
Surveillance video from Dulles International Airport shows Brinton traveling with the bag on an Oct. 9 return trip from Europe, the complaint notes.
The victim said the estimated value of the bag and its contents was around $2,325.
Police questioned Brinton about the missing bag in an Oct. 9 phone call and asked him directly if he “took anything that did not belong” to him.
“Not that I know of,” Brinton allegedly responded. He later admitted to taking the bag but said the clothes inside were his, according to the complaint.
“If I had taken the wrong bag, I am happy to return it, but I don’t have any clothes for another individual. That was my clothes when I opened the bag,” he told police, according to the complaint.
Brinton allegedly called the investigating officer two hours later and apologized for not being “completely honest.” This time Brinton said he took the bag because he was tired and thought it was his, the complaint says.
He allegedly told police that he realized the bag didn’t belong to him when he opened it up at the hotel but “got nervous” and didn’t “know what to do.” Worried that people would think he “stole the bag,” Brinton told police he left the victim’s clothes in the drawers in the hotel room, according to the complaint.
Brinton said he brought the bag back to D.C. with him because it would have been “weirder” to leave a bag in the hotel room, according to police.
Police told Brinton how to return the bag to Delta, but as of Oct. 27 the victim still had not received her bag back.
Police also learned that no clothing was recovered from the hotel room.