OZAUKEE COUNTY — Ozaukee County prosecutors have charged a 27-year-old man after police say he placed nails and screws along busy intersections in the county since last spring.
Under questioning, the suspect admitted to detectives that he believed people were following him, and that he would throw nails out of his car when "he felt threatened by them," a criminal complaint released Tuesday states.
Theodore Drazovic, of Grafton, was charged with felony criminal damage to property (over $2,500) on Monday. If found guilty, Drazovic could spend up to three years and six months behind bars and up to $10,000 in fines.
The criminal complaint states that police started investigating a number of incidents in which nails and screws were left in various roadways in Mequon and Grafton starting in May of last year.
Drivers reported that they discovered that their tires had been damaged, but admitted they did not know what the cause of the damage was. Some said they did drive on roadways where police had found nails and screws.
The areas where the nails and screws were found include: the Mequon Town Center parking lot, outside Marcus North Shore Cinema, the Elite Fitness parking lot, in front of the driveway for the Mequon Fire Department, outside the Metro Market and in front of apartment buildings and other businesses.
Grafton police say they received 48 reports involving tires that were damaged or had to be replaced, totaling $7,217.78 worth of damage. Several more went unreported.
The nails included roofing nails, finishing nails and flat head construction-style nails, the complaint states.
On Nov. 25, 2020, police found the suspect, Theodore Drazovic, sleeping in his vehicle along North Shady Lane in Mequon. Drazovic told officers he had been at nearby Elite Fitness and was letting rush hour slow before driving home, according to prosecutors.
It appears the investigation reached an inroad on Dec. 28, 2020, when a neighbor reported finding 30 nails laid out in the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Donges Bay Road. When officers arrived, they found 56 two-and-a-half-inch silver roofing nails.
Law enforcement then found Drazovic driving nearby and pulled him over. Inside the vehicle, officers found two empty boxes of two-and-a-half-inch silver roofing nails. Drazovic denied being involved in the incidents, the complaint states.
As officers were being dispatched to that call, police received a second complaint from an employee at the Grafton Ace Hardware store, who said Drazovic had purchased two boxes of nails on the same day, according to prosecutors.
With the combined two incidents, Grafton police obtained a court order and secretly placed a GPS tracking device on Drazovic’s vehicle.
On Dec. 9, 2020, detectives learned that Drazovic had purchased one five-pound box of 2.5-inch roofing nails at the Mequon Ace Hardware store. Detectives arrived and obtained video of Drazovic's purchase of those nails.
Drazovic met with detectives on Feb. 5, 2021, and admitted to them that he was the "source" of the nail incidents, according to the complaint. Drazovic said his intention was not to damage other people's cars, but "rather he believed that people were following him and that he would throw these nails out of his car when he felt threatened by them," the complaint states.
Drazovic posted his $2,500 bond on Monday. He will be back in Ozaukee County Court for his status hearing on March 8.
Where the nails and screws were found
TMJ4 News has listed the known addresses of areas where the nails and screws were found, based on the criminal complaint filed against Drazovic:
- 05/26/2020, the parking lot of the Mequon Town Center (6006 Mequon Road), 22 one inch roofing nails located.
- 06/17/2020, 2800 block of Donges Bay Road, 30 one inch silver nails located.
- 06/25/2020, 12400 block Emily Lane, 16 wood nails and 10 roofing nails located.
- 08/31/2020, 11600 block of Port Washington Road (on the service road between Elite Fitness and Metro Market), 46 nails and one screw located.
- 08/31/2020, 11700 block Port Washington Road (Marcus North Shore Cinema) west entrance to the cinema lot, 29 nails located.
- 09/06/2020, 11900 block Lake Shore Drive, 30 two and a half inch roofing nails located.
- 9/06/2020, west side of the Elite Fitness parking lot (11616 Port Washington Road) and Eastbrook Drive, 27 two and a half inch roofing nails located.
- 09/13/2020, 11300 Buntrock Avenue (east of the employee parking lot at the police department), 128 finishing nails located.
- 09/15/2020, 12600 block of Wauwatosa Road, 76 one and one quarter inch roofing nails located.
- 09/15/2020, 12300 block Wauwatosa Road, 59 one and one quarter inch roofing nails located.
- 09/17/2020, Mequon Road in the intersections between Oriole Lane and Riverland Drive, 182 one and three quarter inch roofing nails located.
- 09/18/2020, 11300 Buntrock Avenue (in front of the driveway for the Mequon Fire Department), 76 one and a half inch finishing nails located.
- 10/16/2020, 11558 Port Washington Road (between Metro Market and Elite Fitness), the caller reported he located approximately two boxes of nails which he had collected and disposed of prior to officers arrival.
- 10/16/2020, 11616 Port Washington Road (Elite Fitness), 86 one inch roofing nails located. 20-25072,
- 111700 Port Washington Road (Marcus North Shore Cinema), reporting person reported a large quantity of one inch roofing nails were located and disposed of by the caller prior to officer's arrival.
- 11/14/2020, 11700 block of Port Washington Road (located in the southbound lanes of Port Washington Road in front of the Marcus North Shore Cinema), 60 one inch roofing nails located. 20-28351, 11/18/2020, Portland Avenue between Glen Oaks Lane and Hidden River Drive, approximately 100 two inch roofing nails located.
- 11/25/2020, Theodore Drazovic was located sleeping in his vehicle in front of 13939 Shady Lane. Shady Lane is a dead end road located off of Lake Shore Drive. Drazovic told officers that he had been at Elite Fitness and was letting rush hour slow down before driving home. 20-32115, 12/28/2020, the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Ravine Drive, 56 two and a half inch roofing nails located.
- 12/28/2020, the intersection of Zedler Lane and Thornapple Lane, 35 two and a half inch roofing nails located. The Grafton Police Department had received several calls from citizens reporting large quantities of roofing nails, construction nails and screws in several major roadways and side streets in the Village of Grafton. Nails have also been located and the entrance ways of apartment complexes and the entrances of businesses.
- The roadways in the Village of Grafton are: 1400 block 12th Avenue, South Green Bay Rd and Falls Rd, South Green Bay Rd. and 12th Avenue, Hickory Street at 8th and 9th avenues, Wisconsin Ave at Bridge St., Wisconsin Ave. at 9th Ave, 1500 block of Wisconsin Ave., Columbia Rd. at 1st Ave., 400-600 blocks of Washington St. / HWY 60., Cheyenne Ave. and Cheyenne Ct., 1800-2200 block of Washington St. / HWY 60., 1300 block of North Port Washington Rd to Pawnees Dr., Falls Rd. to 17th Ave., 17th Ave. and River Bend Rd., 13th Ave. and Shoreland Ln., 1300 block of 11th Ave. to Bridge St., Grafton Ave. from Sunset Ln. to Jodi Ln. In total, the Grafton Police Department had taken 48 reports of criminal damage to property, from citizens, involving tires that were either damaged or replaced totaling $7,217.78 worth of damage. Several more went unreported.
- On July 10, 2020, Grafton Police Officer Peter Morton reported finding numerous roofing nails in the roadways from the 1300 block of North Port Washington Rd. south to Pawnee Dr. and on Falls Rd. from Port Washington Rd. westbound to 17th Ave., Grafton.
- On July 16, 2020, Grafton Police Officer Carter responded to Lime Kiln Park for a report of several nails found in the roadway on the road leading to the lower level of the park. Officer Carter collected approximately 30 finishing nails and flat head construction type nails.
- On August 7, 2020, Grafton Police Officer Carter responded to 1915 Shasta Ave. for a report of several roofing nails, finishing nails and flathead construction nails found in the roadway in front of that residence.
- On August 7, 2020, Det. Sgt. Sutherland, was assisting Officer Carter at 1915 Shasta Ave. when he located approximately 10 finishing type nails and flat head construction type nails in front of 2479 Pawnee Dr. It should be noted that the locations of the nails found were at the only two main entrances and exits for this subdivision.
- On August 17, 2020, Officer Cater was dispatched to the intersection of 11th Ave. and Bridge St. for the report of nails in the roadway. Officer Carter collected approximately 30 dry wall screws that were found near the South East Corner of 11th and Bridge St.
- On August 17, and August 21, 2020, the Cedarburg Police Department responded to nails in the roadway at 5106 Columbia Rd and at the intersection of Columbia Rd and Keup Rd.