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Biden’s nuclear waste guru loses job after alleged baggage theft

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Tasia Wells/Getty Images

A Biden administration nuclear waste official, Sam Brinton, is out of work after being accused of stealing luggage from the airport in two separate incidents.

“Sam Brinton is no longer a DOE employee,” a spokesperson for the Department of Energy told The Daily Beast on Monday evening. “By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters.”

Brinton, who caught the eye as one of the federal government’s first non-binary public servants, was first charged last month for grabbing a woman’s suitcase from the Minneapolis baggage carousel- St. Paul International Airport in September. They initially denied taking the bag – which was apparently worth more than $2,500 – but later said they had seized it by mistake.

Brinton checked the bags on at least two other flights after the alleged theft, including a Sept. 18 return flight to Washington DC and an Oct. 9 trip to Europe, according to The Star Tribune.

The newspaper also reported that Brinton admitted to officers that they dumped the contents of the bag in a St. Paul hotel room after realizing their mistake, hoping the situation would clear up.

Then last week a second set of charges were filed in Las Vegas for Brinton – with police sharing surveillance footage of them leaving Harry Reid International Airport with another woman’s bag – this one is worth about $3,670, according to court documents.

The Las Vegas case had apparently been dropped due to a lack of suspects, but officials were able to match the surveillance photo to reports of Brinton’s charges in Minneapolis. It helped that they were wearing a distinctive rainbow atomic t-shirt which investigators were able to associate with a post on Brinton’s Instagram account from the same day.

According to 8 News Now, the unidentified woman reported to police a few days later that her bag was missing, filled with “jewellery, makeup, contact lenses and clothes”.

Court documents say a Las Vegas Metropolitan Department officer viewed video footage showing a Briton looking around suspiciously – placing the bag back on the luggage turnstile before hanging it a second time as he went that it was coming.

A White House spokesperson did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. Brinton could not be successfully reached.

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