NOTE: The video attached to this article is from a previous story.
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A former Energy Department official pleaded “no contest” Wednesday after they were seen on video stealing luggage at Harry International Airport in Las Vegas.
Samuel Brinton agreed to pay the victim restitution of nearly $3670, received a suspended jail sentence of 180 days, and must stay out of trouble, according to Las Vegas Justice Court records. Brinton pleaded “no contest” to misdemeanor theft. Nevada state law specifies that the stolen amount is less than $1200. Brinton originally faced a charge of felony theft since police said the stolen amount was $3670.
Brinton, who is non-binary and uses the pronouns “they” and “them” stole luggage from a baggage carousel last July.
A woman who had traveled from Dulles International Airport to Reid Airport on July 6 said she could not locate a piece of her luggage that she had checked with United Airlines. She filed a police report four days later. The luggage was described as gray with a hard shell and an “Away” brand “Bigger Carry-On” model valued at $320, documents said.
The woman told police her stolen property had a total value of more than $3,670 and included jewelry, makeup, contact lenses, and clothing, documents said.
A Las Vegas Metropolitan police officer reviewed surveillance video and “observed several nonverbal cues, or body language anomalies, from the suspect, which caught his attention,” according to the warrant.
“Specifically, Brinton pulled the victim’s luggage from the carousel and examined the tag. Then placed it back on the carousel, looking in all directions for anyone who might be watching or might approach. Pulling it back off the carousel and demonstrating the same behavior by looking around before walking away with it quickly,” the warrant said.
Police reviewed possible leads but were unsuccessful in identifying the suspect until an officer saw a news article in November identifying Sam Brinton as a suspect in luggage theft at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport on Sept. 16.
Photos in the news stories matched the suspect in the Las Vegas luggage theft, according to the warrant.
Detectives found Brinton’s Instagram page with a post dated July 6, according to police. The t-shirt in the photo and surveillance video matched, police said.
Brinton, 35, was a deputy assistant secretary of the office of spent fuel and waste disposition, according to the Office of Nuclear Energy’s website. Shortly after 8newsnow.com reported on the warrant for Brinton, the department announced they were no longer an employee.
The case against Brinton in Minneapolis is ongoing.