A man was arrested Sunday and charged with kidnapping a resident of Lutz, Fla., that he had been stalking on social media for years, according to Kavitha Surana of the Tampa Bay Times.
The name of the victim was not released, but the home where the arrest was made is owned by WWE star Sonya Deville, whose real name is Daria Berenato. The suspect, 24-year-old Phillip A. Thomas II from South Carolina, had reportedly planned the kidnapping for eight months.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Thomas entered the home around midnight by cutting a hole in the patio screen, then entered through a sliding glass door around 2:43 a.m. after observing the resident go to sleep. His entrance activated an alarm, and the homeowner fled with a guest in a car upon seeing Thomas on the property.
Deputies arrived on the scene to find Thomas still in the house with a knife, plastic zip ties, duct tape, mace and other items. He told deputies he had planned to take the homeowner hostage.
“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.”
Berenato posted a thank-you message to fans on Twitter for their well-wishes, calling the break-in a "very frightening experience."
A jail booking sheet lists Thomas as an Applebee's crew member. Thomas' Twitter account featured many posts about Berenato. Berenato, 26, stars on WWE's SmackDown program on Fox, and also the reality show Total Divas on the E! network.