An Elk River man fueled by jealousy threw hundreds of screws onto Sherburne County roads, causing widespread damage to vehicle tires, charges filed Wednesday allege.
Jeffrey Caouette, 63, was charged in Sherburne County District Court with two felony counts of criminal damage to property and remains jailed in lieu of $2,000 bail.
Additional charges are likely to be filed against Caouette, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman David Unze. “Big Lake police and Sherburne County deputies have taken more than 200 reports of tires that have been damaged in recent weeks or of screws being found on area roadways,” Unze said.
Three Big Lake police squad cars were among the vehicles damaged, the charges noted. One of the squads had a repair bill of $540.
This month alone, Caouette bought more than 12,000 drywall screws in 5-pound boxes, according to the charges.
Caouette told law enforcement that he believed his ex-girlfriend was seeing someone new, and he was choosing to leave screws where she and her new love interest would be driving. “His motive in throwing the screws on the road was to slow down what he believed was his ex-girlfriend’s new relationship,” the charges read.
A caller to law enforcement reported Monday seeing an SUV that matched the description of a vehicle Big Lake police had identified as being involved in the numerous incidents.
A sheriff’s deputy stopped him minutes later, and he admitted to throwing screws onto county roads dating back to late June, the charges read.
Anyone who has tire damage they suspect is related to these incidents can call the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office at 763-765-3500.