The former Biden Department of Energy official accused in two separate stolen-luggage cases in different states was released without bail Wednesday after a court appearance in Minnesota.
Sam Brinton, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, is accused of stealing a woman’s Vera Bradley suitcase from the baggage claim at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in September.
The bag and its contents were valued at $2,325. Brinton was charged with felony theft after they were spotted using the luggage several times after allegedly snatching it.
Brinton was released without bail and ordered to not contact any of the victims during a hearing Wednesday, according to Fox News.
Brinton, 35, is also facing felony grand larceny charges in Nevada for a similar luggage heist incident in which prosecutors allege they stole another woman’s suitcase worth $320 at Harry Reid International Airport in July.
The suitcase contained more than $3,500 worth of jewelry, clothing, and makeup, cops said.
They appeared in Las Vegas court in the case in December and were released after posting a $15,000 bond. The judge in that case told the former nuclear waste official to “stay out of trouble.”
After the charges came to light, Brinton was placed on leave from their government job as the deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition at the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy and was later fired.
Several House Republications had called on Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to remove Brinton from the DOE before their firing.
They face up to five years in prison for the Minnesota theft and up to 10 years’ jail time for the Las Vegas heist.
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