ELK RIVER -- An Elk River man has been charged with two felony counts of 1st-degree criminal damage to property for allegedly throwing thousands of screws onto Sherburne County roads.

Sixty-three-year-old Jeffrey Caouette was arrested Monday and made his first court appearance Wednesday.

According to the charges, Caouette told investigators he was in a romantic relationship that had ended and he believed his ex-girlfriend was seeing someone new.

Records show he began throwing the screws near where each lived and on the roads most directly linking their homes as a way to slow down their new relationship. Police say Caouette started throwing screws at the entrance to a trailer park in Zimmerman, then threw them on Powell Street in Big Lake, and continued tossing handfuls of sheetrock screws on other Sherburne County roads.

Caouette allegedly told investigators he had done this approximately 20 times since late June and in total bought 55 pounds of screws for this purpose.

Big Lake Police and Sherburne County deputies have taken more than 200 reports of damaged tires or of screws on area roadways.

Additional charges are likely as the investigation continues.

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