Police Officer Arrested on Meth & Theft Charges

Officer Seth Thayer, who had been associated with the Salem, Oregon Police Department since 2003, resigned from that department last month because in October 2018, while on leave awaiting a fitness evaluation, he, along with homeless accomplice James Cardenas, was arrested for felony possession of stolen property, the selling stolen property, and possession of methamphetamines.

These are first-time charges against Thayres, who has no criminal history. His accomplice Cardenas, however, has a long record of theft and drug-related crimes in both Washington and Oregon. It is not clear how Thayres and Cardenas became involved.

Thayres and Cardenas were caught when the owner of a video production company who had previously been robbed of $20,000 worth of video production equipment, spotted some of it being resold online, and immediately called the police. Because the equipment had been reported as stolen, it was easy for detectives to arrange a meeting with the online site’s owner, who told detectives he bought the equipment from “The Mac Men,” who turned out to be Thayres and Cardenas.

Thayres had worked for the department as a dispatcher for eight years and was hired as a full-time officer in 2014. He also worked in the “Gulfport Police Explorers,” a program for mentoring adolescents keen on learning more about law enforcement.

According to Thayres’ department records, he has been diagnosed with bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorder. It has not been determined if either (or both) of these conditions had any bearing on Thayres’ involvement with Cardenas and the resale of the stolen goods.

As in many cases when a colleague is discovered to be involved in criminal activity when there has been no previous history, Thayres’ co-workers were completely surprised. “We’re shocked,” said Police Chief Robert Vincent. “He was eager, dependable, and a good worker. I wonder if I ever knew him.”

Whether or not Thayres’ medical conditions prompted his descent into illegal activity is unknown at this point. But it’s probably a good bet it is a contributing factor. PTSD and homelessness are just two reasons people self-medicate. And if they’re doing it with illegal drugs, sometimes the only way to procure those drugs is by theft. To learn more, contact the American Addiction Centers.

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction, whether drugs or alcohol, contact the National Drug Helpline at 888-633-3239. They have counselors standing by 24/7 to help you get on the road to recovery.

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