The deputy secretary of the Department of Energy's Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposal, Sam Brinton, is being charged for allegedly stealing a suitcase. He will stand trial scheduled for December 19 in Hennepin County, Minnesota.
On Sept. 16, a woman who landed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, Minn, from New Orleans, reported a checked bag missing. The passenger went to the conveyor belt to retrieve her luggage, a Vera Bradley branded backpack valued at $2,325, and discovered it was missing.
Removed the billing label
Minneapolis-St. Paul employees confirmed that the luggage arrived at 16:40. Upon reviewing video surveillance cameras, security noticed that Brinton picked up the suitcase in question. According to the complaint, Brinton removed the check-in tag from the suitcase, placed it in a bag he was carrying and "left the area at a brisk pace." The public official landed at the Minneapolis airport on a flight from Washington, D.C. at 4:27 p.m. and had not checked any baggage prior to travel.
The description of the passenger and the luggage shown in the images matched. The complaint clarifies that Brinton then traveled in an Uber to the InterContinental St. Regis Riverfront hotel with this backpack. Two days later, Brinton was observed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport with the same backpack in his posession for a return trip to the capital.
Police questioned the public official on October 9 and asked him if he took something that did not belong to him. Brinton's response was "not that I know of." "If I had taken the wrong bag, I'm happy to return it, but I don't have clothes for another individual. Those were my clothes when I opened the bag," he added.
It was not "completely honest."
Brinton called police two hours after the interrogation to admit that he was not "completely honest." According to the official, he mistakenly took the luggage because he was tired from the trip - Washington D.C. to Minneapolis is less than a 3-hour flight - and "got nervous" when he arrived at the hotel and realized that the suitcase was not his.
The undersecretary of the Bureau of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposal claimed that he left the clothes contained in the suitcase in the hotel room closets and took the bag with him to "save face."