According to a report by the Tampa Bay Times, a South Carolina man was arrested at the home of Daria Berenato, known as Sonya Deville of WWE, for attempted kidnapping.
Berenato was not identified in the initial police report, but the Tampa Bay Times verified that the address in Lutz, Florida belongs to her.
The man, identified as Phillip A. Thomas II, 24, has been stalking Berenato for years on social media. He has never met her. Thomas began planning the abduction eight months ago, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
According to a release by the Sheriff’s Office, Thomas arrived at Berenato’s house around midnight. Thomas cut a hole in the patio screen and remained on the patio for a number of hours watching and listening through the windows. At 2:43, after Berenato had gone to bed, he entered the house through the sliding door, activating the alarm.
Berenato saw Thomas on the property at the point and fled with her guest in a car, calling 911 shortly after. Thomas was arrested in the house. He was carrying a knife, plastic zip ties, duct tape, mace, and other items with the intent of taking Berenato hostage.
Thomas was charged with aggravated stalking, armed burglary of a dwelling, attempted armed kidnapping, and criminal mischief. He is being held without bail.
Sheriff Chad Chronister had this to say about the crime in a press release:
“Our deputies are unveiling the suspect’s disturbing obsession with this homeowner who he had never met, but stalked on social media for years. 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.”
Berenato took to social media to issue a statement, thanking the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.