Former DOE official arrested for third time for allegedly stealing luggage at airport

Sam Brinton, the former Department of Energy official who was accused of stealing a Tanzanian fashion designer’s dresses from her airport luggage, has been arrested as a “fugitive from justice” by Maryland police.

Brinton was reportedly taken into custody in Rockville, Maryland by police on Wednesday, according to police records.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police, said the arrest was related to the theft of airport luggage, reported Fox News. It is the third such allegation made against Brinton.

“Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police executed a search warrant May 17 in Montgomery County, Maryland, in connection with allegations of stolen property in luggage from Reagan National Airport that was brought to the department’s attention in February 2023,” James Johnson, a spokesperson for the MWAA, said in a statement.

They previously oversaw nuclear waste policy at the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, but more recently has been battling charges related to luggage theft in both Nevada and Minnesota.

Brinton was charged in October for allegedly stealing a traveller’s bags worth a total of $2,325 from the Minneapolis-St Paul Airport on 16 September.

They were charged again in early December by Las Vegas prosecutors with grand larceny of an item with a value between $1,200 and $5,000.

Those charges accuse Brinton of stealing a suitcase from the Harry Reid International Airport with an estimated worth of $3,670 on 6 July, 2022. That bag also contained jewellery valued at $1,700, clothing valued at $850, and makeup valued at $500.

Brinton faced a combined 15 years in prison for the alleged thefts, but judges in both cases determined jail time was not necessary.

Brinton made headlines after Tanzanian fashion designer Asya Khamsin spotted them wearing one of her custom-made dresses packed in her luggage that she reported missing in 2018.

“I saw the images. Those were my custom designs, which were lost in that bag in 2018,” she told Fox News at the time, adding that Brinton “wore my clothes, which [were] stolen”.

She reported the theft to the Houston police, who then forwarded the complaint to the FBI for investigation.

The DOE announced Brinton had left the agency shortly after the second set of luggage theft charges were brought against them. The agency did not provide further detail on why Brinton was no longer working at the DOE.