Officer Seth Thayres joined Salem Police Department in 2014. He said after a dangerous encounter with an armed robber in March 2017 triggered bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. (Courtesy of Seth Thayres)
A former Salem police officer has made his first public statements after his arrest in a string of burglaries in Portland earlier this month, denying he had any role in the crimes.
Seth Thayres, 31, who faces charges of methamphetamine possession and first-degree theft, took to Facebook last week to deny doing drugs and stealing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of computers and video production equipment from businesses in Southeast Portland.
Thayres was arrested in Portland Feb. 7. He resigned from his job Feb. 11. He had worked for the agency since 2014 and had been on administrative leave since Oct. 9 while the city evaluated his fitness for duty. Thayres said he was declared "unfit" to be a police officer before his arrest.
In his post, Thayres said he hasn’t been “normal” after what he considered to be a nearly fatal police stop two years ago. He described wrestling with an armed robber over a gun on March 28, 2017.
“When I arrested him, he had a gun in his waistband he tried to pull out as we fought from the front of my car to the back of my car. He wasn’t successful in his effort to shoot me, but admitted afterward he would’ve shot me and attempted to kill me had I given him a chance to do so,” Thayres wrote.
Court records show the suspect, who he identified as Daniel Jimenez, faced charges first-degree robbery with a firearm, unlawful use of a firm, first-degree theft, methamphetamine possession and resisting arrest. Jimenez pled no contest Nov. 11, 2017 and was convicted of two counts of first-degree robbery with a firearm with all other charges dropped.
But Thayres said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of the encounter.
“I felt something change inside me that day. I haven’t been ‘normal’ since. A fight for your life is an experience unlike any other,” Thayres wrote.
“I started fighting in my sleep, which caused me to put holes in the walls of my house and knock some of the windows out of their frames. I also experienced insomnia, flashbacks and other severe symptoms,” he said. “People at work thought I was using drugs. My disorders, caused by work, mimic drug use during periods of mania and insomnia.”
Thayres eventually faced questions of whether he was able to serve as a police officer. He said a psychologist found him unfit.
He was arrested Feb.7 along with 35-year-old James Cardenas after a man trying to sell what proved to be stolen equipment told Portland detectives that he bought it from two men out of a Portland hotel room.
Officers arrested Thayres and Cardenas in the hotel lobby, according to a probable cause affidavit, and found in a room registered to Cardenas more stolen equipment and methamphetamine on a desk.
“The alleged controlled substance was allegedly in a hotel room, according to police,” Thayres wrote. “That hotel room wasn’t in my name. I was nowhere near the room when I was arrested and I didn’t have anything illegal in my possession. I most certainly didn’t knowingly sell any alleged stolen property. My resignation had nothing to do with any of that anyway.”
In the affidavit, police said Thayres denied knowing the computers he helped sell had been stolen. He also denied using drugs but refused to give a urine sample.
Thayres wrote on Facebook that people said he looked unhealthy, but he attributed that to his mental health and arrest.
“Unfortunately, this is my story. Daniel Jimenez was sentenced to ten years in prison for his acts on that day. I received a life sentence of bipolar disorder and PTSD – there is no ‘release date,’ no recovery for me,” he said. “In a way, it would’ve been easier to have a drug addiction. At least then I would have some hope in recovery.”
Have a tip? Contact reporter Troy Brynelson at 503-575-9930, firstname.lastname@example.org or @TroyWB.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Thayres resigned the day of his arrest. He resigned four days later.
Thayres was arrested Feb. 6 in Portland and charged with theft and methamphetamine possession. (Courtesy of Multnomah County Sheriff)