HOBART — A 37-year-old man whose home was raided by SWAT this past April on suspicion he was involved in a credit card fraud scheme is now facing new federal charges in U.S. District Court.
Peter A. Batalis was booked Thursday morning into the Hobart City Jail following an investigation by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Hobart police Lt. James Gonzales has confirmed.
Batalis was indicted Aug. 16 with one count of possession of a firearm with an unregistered destructive device after an April search warrant turned up three gun silencers Batalis illegally owned, according to police and U.S. District court records unsealed Thursday.
Gonzales said Hobart police, with assistance from the Northwest Regional SWAT Team, executed a search warrant at his home in April to recover evidence in a case in which he was suspected of credit card fraud.
"As we searched for the credit cards and other items taken from victims' cars, the silencers were discovered hidden in the garage," Gonzales said. "Given the severity of possessing those illegally, we thought it was important we turned that over to ATF."
SWAT assisted in the April search warrant because Batalis was "known to possess numerous weapons and we knew he has a propensity for violence," police said.
Batalis is also in the midst of a Lake Criminal Court case in connection with the credit card fraud, where he's formally charged with felony fraud, forgery and conversion.
The investigation into Batalis began after Hobart detectives were assigned to investigate a series of car break-ins April 2 in the city's Pembroke subdivision. Inside the vehicles were credit cards, power tools and gift cards, court records show.
One of the victims said two of his credit cards were used at various locations in Gary, including on April 2 at Speedway, 3201 Grant St., and later that day at Gill Mini Mart, 800 E. Ridge Road, in Gary, according to a probable cause affidavit. Batalis allegedly admitted he was the one in the video at the gas stations, but said he obtained the stolen credit cards from another man.
Batalis is suspected of breaking into the vehicles, but he has not yet been charged in connection with the break-ins.