One of the federal government’s first gender non-binary officials, Sam Brinton, who is a Biden administration employee, was accused of stealing luggage from a traveler at the Minneapolis airport in September and has been charged. This means that Brinton is innocent until proven guilty, but has still been charged and face the potential of consequences. But that’s not all the details. There’s more.

According to court documents, after allegedly snatching a Vera Bradley suitcase reportedly worth $2,325 from baggage claim at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on September 16, the deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition at the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, Sam Brinton, was charged with felony theft.

The filings also state that Brinton was captured on surveillance video grabbing the luggage and removing its ID tag identifying the potential real owner. Investigators said that Brinton was later seen using the Vera Bradley suitcase on September 18 and October 9, on at least two occasions while traveling to Washington, DC.

Brinton, who personally uses they/them pronouns, had first denied stealing the suitcase, but then later claimed taking it by mistake and still had it. Here is what Brinton first told the officer: “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,” Brinton claimed.

This is where the story changes. Two hours after the first conversation, Brinton called the officers back in order to confess for not being “completely honest.” Brinton said to the officer that, due to exhaustion, they accidentally grabbed the wrong bag at the luggage carousel.

Brinton said that when they opened the bag at the hotel and realized it was the wrong one, but that at the moment,  got nervous thinking that someone would think it was stolen and didn’t know what to do with it, according to the court filings, so Brinton emptied the luggage and left the person’s clothes inside the drawers of a dresser in the hotel room.

As first reported by the local Minnesota outlet, Alpha News, Brinton was charged with felony theft of a moveable property without consent. Brinton was placed on leave about a month ago after  being accused of stealing the luggage,  Now, according to the Exchange Monitor which tracks government officials’ moves, another official was named as their interim replacement earlier in November. Brinton’s leave was confirmed by a spokesperson for the DOE.

Brinton, who became one of the government’s first non-binary officials when taking the job, could now face up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine if convicted.

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