WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A man reportedly obssesed with WWE star Sonya Deville was arrested Sunday morning after breaking into her Florida home.
- Phillip Thomas, 24, who traveled from South Carolina to Florida, had the intention of kidnapping the professional wrestler, police said.
- Deville and a guest fled the home and called 911 after her home security alarm went off.
A South Carolina man was arrested early Sunday in Lutz, Florida, with the intent to kidnap a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star he had been stalking on social media, according to the Tampa Bay Times‘ Kavitha Surana.
While the victim was not identified by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the house was reportedly owned by Daria Berenato, Sonya Deville’s real name.
The suspect, 24-year-old Phillip A. Thomas II, had reportedly planned the kidnapping for eight months. Zip ties, duct tape, and knife were among the things found on Thomas’ belongings.
The intruder parked his car at a nearby church around midnight and walked to the house, according to the sheriff’s office. Thomas where he waited on the patio while looking into the house through the windows. At 2:43 a.m., the homeowner reportedly went to bed, at which point Thomas allegedly entered the house through a sliding door and activated the alarm.
Deville then reportedly saw Thomas on the property, fled from the scene with a guest and called 911.
Thomas was reportedly still at the house when deputies arrived. Per authorities, he was carrying, among other things, a knife, plastic zip ties, duct tape and mace, and told deputies that he was planning to take the homeowner hostage.
Thomas has reportedly been charged with aggravated stalking, armed burglary of a dwelling, attempted armed kidnapping and criminal mischief. He is being held without bail.
From the Times:
“Our deputies are unveiling the suspect’s disturbing obsession with this homeowner who he had never met, but stalked on social media for years,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in the news release. “It’s frightening to think of all the ways this incident could have played out had the home alarm not gone off and alerted the homeowner of an intruder.”
While Thomas had never met the homeowner, his Twitter account @Phillip80400010 consists of repeated tweets and retweets about Deville and her career. His most recent activity was retweeting this from WWE about Deville’s upcoming appearance at SummerSlam:
The 26-year-old Deville is the first openly gay female wrestler in WWE history, and currently stars in the company’s “Total Divas” reality show.