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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.

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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.

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