LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — An energy department official was caught on camera stealing luggage at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas this summer, according to an arrest warrant the 8 News Now Investigators obtained.
The felony warrant was issued Thursday, Dec. 8, for Sam Brinton, a deputy assistant secretary, the 8 News Now Investigators first reported. The charge is for grand larceny with a value between $1,200 and $5,000.
Brinton, 35, is a deputy assistant secretary of the office of spent fuel and waste disposition, according to the Office of Nuclear Energy’s website.
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, the same day of the theft, according to police.
“Thank you to @americannuclear for selling such a great shirt for me to wear on my flight today,” the post said. “My professional society continues to grow and learn and I’m proud of them. Goodness how we have changed since my service as a chapter president and then on the National Board of Directors. #NuclearPride.”
The white T-shirt in Brinton’s selfie with a large rainbow atomic nuclear symbol design on the front matched the airport surveillance video, police said.
Brinton faces charges for a similar incident at the Minneapolis airport. They were on leave after charges were filed in connection with that incident, an energy department spokesman said in November.
Brinton is non-binary and uses the pronoun “they.”