News

St. Charles man charged with retail felony theft in Batavia

Matthew Gatrel also faces sentencing in California on federal cybercrime conviction

Matthew D. Gatrel was charged with felony burglary without causing damage, retail theft and price switching of items with a value of more than $300 and two misdemeanor counts of using a theft detection shielding device and retail theft.

BATAVIA – A St. Charles man charged with felony retail theft of items valued at nearly $900 will soon be sentenced in California on a federal cybercrime conviction, according to police reports and court records.

Matthew D. Gatrel, 33, of the 700 block of Pheasant Trail, St. Charles, was also charged April 17 with felony burglary without causing damage by allegedly using fake barcodes in a retail store and price switching of items with a value of more than $300 and two misdemeanor counts of using a theft detection shielding device and retail theft, court records show.

According to the police report, Gatrel went into Walmart, 801 N. Randall Road, Batavia, on April 16 with 51 homemade UPC codes and replaced the actual price stickers with the homemade ones.

Police reports listed more than 100 items with a total value of $885.43 taken from the store, including food, household goods, cosmetics and landscape equipment, that Gatrel allegedly took either without paying for them or by paying less than the actual prices for them.

Gatrel was released a $25,000 personal recognizance bond and is to appear in court June 30, records show.

The most serious of the charges against Gatrel are three Class 3 felonies, punishable by two to five years in prison and fines up to $25,000 on each, if convicted.

Kane County Associate Judge Alice Tracy approved allowing Gatrel to travel back and forth to California for the federal case pending there against him, court records show. But Gatrel is to notify Kane County Court Services of each scheduled date of travel prior to leaving, records show.

Federal court records show that a jury convicted Gatrel of conspiracy to commit unauthorized impairment of protected computers on Sept. 16, 2021.

A sentencing hearing for Gatrel is scheduled for June 16 in Los Angeles, records show. He faces a fine or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.

The federal complaint, filed Dec. 19, 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, named Gatrel and a co-defendant, Juan Martinez of Pasadena, who later pleaded guilty, records show.

Gatrel and Martinez were accused of committing distributed denial of service – known as DDoS – attacks, according to an FBI affidavit in support of the complaint.

Multiple internet-enabled devices – known as “booter” or “stresser” services – are used to attack computers “with tremendously high volumes of unsolicited traffic, effectively preventing the victim from receiving or responding to normal traffic and therefore, from properly using the internet,” according to the FBI affidavit.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Gatrel’s arrest in a Dec. 20, 2018 news release stating that it had seized 15 internet domains associated with DDoS-for-hire services.

The attack services operated by Gatrel and Martinez showed more than 2,000 customers used their service to conduct or attempt more than 200,000 DDoS attacks, according to the release.

“Whether you launch the DDoS attack or hire a DDoS service to do it for you, the FBI considers it criminal activity,” FBI Assistant Director Gorham stated in the release. “We will use every tool at our disposal to combat all forms of cybercrime including DDoS activity. We encourage all DDoS victims to contact your local FBI field office or file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.”

Neither Gatrel nor his public defender returned voice mail messages seeking comment.