Charges: Man who left screws on Twin Cities roads was targeting his ex

The 63-year-old caused damaged to more than 200 vehicles.
Jeffrey Caouette

The man accused of leaving a trail of screws and nails across northwest metro roads over a period of months said he was targeting his ex and her new boyfriend.

Jeffrey Caouette, 63, of Elk River, has been charged with two counts of causing damage to property as the investigation continues into his alleged actions that has caused damage to more than 200 vehicles in cities including Big Lake and Zimmerman.

Caouette was arrested outside a Zimmerman trailer park on Monday morning, after police were alerted to a suspicious vehicle, with officers finding a five-pound box of sheetrock screws inside his SUV.

When questioned, the 63-year-old admitted he'd been putting screws on roadways, saying he'd recently seen his romantic relationship end, and believed his ex-girlfriend was seeing someone else.

He would throw the screws into the road outside the trailer park as well as near the home of his ex's friend in Big Lake.

"His motive in throwing the screws on the road was to slow down what he believed to be his ex-girlfriend's new relationship," the charges say.

Police found that he had bought sheetrock screws from Menards on 9 separate occasions over a period of weeks in August. In total, he bought 12,688 screws.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

He also admitted to police that every other day since June 26, he would throw screws out of his car as he drove, leaving them on multiple streets and county roads in Sherburne County.

In total, more than 200 reports of damaged tires from the area have been received. This includes three police squad cars.

Caouette made his first court appearance on Wednesday, and is being held on a $50,000 unconditional bail, or $2,000 bail provided he doesn't go anywhere he left the screws. He'll also wear a GPS monitoring device.

Next Up

covid-19 testing site sign

Here are the 4 free COVID-19 testing sites in MN for the week of Nov. 2

People don't need to have symptoms or insurance to get tested for free.

Apple Valley High School

ISD 196 moves to full distance learning for grades 6-12

The decision was announced as infection rates in Dakota County rise.

minnesota zoo

Minnesota Zoo launches activities to get people embracing nature

The zoo is hosting a pumpkin scavenger hunt and a "Do the Zoo, Not Zoom Day."

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

25 counties have COVID-19 infection rates associated with distance learning

County-level data is no longer the only source districts have to rely on to make informed decisions about which learning model to use.

Jason Lewis and Tina Smith

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's Senate race

Incumbent Tina Smith will take on former Congressman Jason Lewis.

President Donald Trump

President Trump railing against capacity limits for Friday's Rochester rally

A contract with the city limits capacity to 250 people, but Trump says they were expecting 25,000.

st. paul shooting - oct. 30

Man injured as his gun goes off during pat-down search from St. Paul police

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident.

ballot voting vote

Appeals court changes rules for MN absentee ballots received after Election Day

Pending a further challenge, votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day may not be counted.

Donald Trump

Confusion over where Trump campaign rally will be held Friday

It sounds like it'll be held at the airport in Rochester.

Screen Shot 2020-10-29 at 3.19.05 PM

This video of the Lowry Hill Tunnel walls being cleaned is oddly satisfying

The tunnel will be closed overnight Thursday for cleaning.


Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 1.02.20 PM

Man, 63, arrested for throwing nails, screws onto NW metro roads

As many as 150 drivers reported tire damage as a result.

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 1.02.20 PM

Police: Watch out for screws, nails on northwest metro roadways

Police suspect the nails and screws were purposely thrown onto roads.

Matthew Amiot

Charges: Man tried to use spit to put out synagogue fire he started

The fire caused more than $350,000-worth of damage.

Antonio Richardson

Charges: Man shot dead in his St. Paul home was not the target

A 30-year-old man has been charged with murder.

Paul durand

Ex-school superintendent charged with alleged $42,000 embezzlement

The 63-year-old allegedly swindled the school district over an 18-month period.

Jacob McPheeters

Charges: Man shot girlfriend on his birthday, fled to Wisconsin

The 28-year-old is now facing attempted murder charges.

police lights

While dropping his kids off, man shot dead by ex's new boyfriend

The 31-year-old was shot several times after an argument with his ex's boyfriend.

police lights

Sheriff: Driver fatally hits Zimmerman man who was walking in the road

Thirty-five pedestrians have been killed by cars so far this year.