ELK RIVER -- An Elk River man has pleaded guilty to throwing thousands of screws onto Sherburne County roads last year.

Sixty-three-year-old Jeffrey Caouette has agreed to a plea agreement where he pleaded guilty to a felony count of 1st-degree criminal damage to property. A second count of the same charge will be dismissed at sentencing.

According to the criminal complaint, 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 told investigators he had done this approximately 20 times from June of last year through August and in total bought 55 pounds of screws for this purpose.

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

Caouette will be sentenced in September.

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