Charges: Man threw screws onto roads to thwart ex-girlfriend's new relationship

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(Sherburne County Jail)

A 63-year-old Elk River man was charged Wednesday after admitting to throwing screws onto roadways in Sherburne County, Minnesota.

According to the charges filed in Sherburne County District Court, Jeffrey Caouette faces one felony count of damage to property over $1,000.

The criminal complaint says Coauette caused a total of $1,592.33 in damages to vehicles as a result of their running over the screws. Sherburne County said as many as 150 people reported screws in their tires. Further charges are expected as a result. 

Monday, Caouette was taken into custody and admitted to throwing the screws onto roads.

He told police a romantic relationship had ended and that he believed his ex-girlfriend was seeing someone new. That is why he starting putting sheetrock screws at the entrance to a trailer park in Zimmerman.

Then, he started throwing sheetrock screws on Powell Street in Big Lake, because that is where his ex-girlfriend’s friend lives.

Next, Coauette admitted to throwing screws on County Roads 5 and 4 because they were the most direct routes between Powell Street and Zimmerman.

The charges say his motive in throwing the screws on the road was to slow down his ex-girlfriend’s new relationship.

Over the month of August, police found that Coauette purchased about 12,668 sheetrock screws in total.

Coauette estimated he threw screws onto roads about every other day since June 26 on Sherburne County Roads 45, 4, 5, 25, 1, Powell Street, Minnesota Avenue and Washington Avenue.

A woman and a man both reported having to replace tires damaged by the screws, totaling about $1,592 in damage.

Crews were out on Sherburne County roads Tuesday to clean up the remaining screws.