South Carolina man charged with attempting to kidnap WWE star


TAMPA, Fla .– A South Carolina man who allegedly stalked a 26-year-old WWE star for years and spent eight months planning her kidnapping was arrested on Sunday after breaking into her home near Tampa, said Sheriff officials said.

Phillip A. Thomas II, 24, of Cordesville, South Carolina, was arrested early Sunday for attempting to carry out the plot, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

The sheriff’s office has not identified the victim, but the house where Thomas was arrested belongs to Daria Berenato, whose stage name is Sonya Deville. She plays for WWE and stars in the E! reality TV series from the cable channel Total Divas. She then tweeted a thank you message to the sheriff’s office.

Thomas faces charges of aggravated stalking, armed burglary of a home, attempted armed kidnapping and criminal mischief, and is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Investigators said Thomas parked his car at a nearby church, walked over to the house, and drilled a hole in a screen to enter the house’s patio, where he stood for three to four hours watching and to listen through the windows.

Thomas entered the house through a sliding glass door at 2:43 a.m. after the owner went to bed, the statement said. The alarm has activated.

Sheriff officials said the owner looked out the window and saw Thomas before leaving with a guest in a car. She also called 911. Thomas was still home when the deputies arrived.

He had a knife, plastic ties, duct tape, sledgehammer and other items, and told MPs he planned to take the owner hostage, the sheriff’s office said.

On the prison records, Thomas is listed as an Applebee crew member. He was being held without bond and the records do not mention a lawyer for him.

“Our deputies unveil the suspect’s worrying obsession with this owner whom he had never met, but stalked on social networks for years,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “It’s scary to think of all the ways this incident could have happened if the house alarm hadn’t gone off and alerted the owner of an intruder.”


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