UPDATE August 21: In a hearing Thursday night, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Catherine Catlin ruled that Phillip Thomas II will continue to be held without bail after being charged in the attempted kidnapping and stalking of out WWE wrestler Sonya Deville, real name Daria Berenato.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Judge Catlin deemed Thomas a threat to community safety. “I don’t see any way we can protect our community in Hillsborough County if we give him bail,” the judge said.
New details about Sunday morning’s event came to light thanks to testimony from Berenato. She revealed that she came face-to-face with Thomas after waking her friend and fellow WWE wrestler Mandy Rose, real name Amanda Saccomonno. “I was terrified, I was screaming, ‘What the fuck are you doing here,’” Berenato said.
Berenato also revealed that she discovered hundreds of past online messages from Thomas in the days after the incident. Some of those messages featured violent threats from Thomas toward Berenato’s family members, including threats to murder Berenato’s sisters and parents. One message reading “Hey baby, look outside. I’m by your pool” came from Thomas while he was watching Berenato and Saccomonno from Berenato’s lanai on the night of the incident.
Berenato was granted a protection order against Thomas for stalking violence on Aug. 17.
ORIGINAL STORY: Police in Tampa Bay, Fla. announced the arrest of a South Carolina man early Sunday morning on charges of stalking and attempted kidnapping for allegedly breaking into the Lutz, Fla. home of out WWE wrestler Sonya Deville. Deville’s legal name is Daria Berenato.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Phillip A. Thomas II drove from his home in South Carolina to Lutz to commit the crime. The report states Thomas parked his car at a church Saturday evening, walked to Berenato’s property and entered through the screened-in lanai by cutting a hole. The sheriff’s office says he remained outside the house for several hours, observing Berenato and a guest from the patio until they went to bed at 2:43 a.m. Sunday morning.
Police say that’s when Thomas entered the home and tripped the security alarm system. Berenato spotted Thomas, ran from the house with her guest and dialed 911. Officers arrived to find Thomas still in the house armed with a knife, mace, plastic zip-ties and duct tape. He later told officers that he planned to take Berenato hostage.
According to Sheriff Chad Chronister, Thomas spent the past several years stalking Berenato via social media. “Our deputies are unveiling the suspect’s disturbing obsession with this homeowner who he had never met, but stalked on social media for years,” Chronister said. Thomas reportedly had been planning his “mission to commit harm” for eight months.
“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,” Chronister added.
In a statement via Twitter Sunday evening, Berenato called the experience “very frightening” but thanked people that reached out for their “love and concern.”
Thank you everyone for your love and concern. A very frightening experience but thankfully everyone is safe. A special thank you to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for their response and assistance.— Daddy Deville (@SonyaDevilleWWE) August 17, 2020
Thomas was charged with aggravated stalking, attempted armed kidnapping, armed burglary and criminal mischief and is being held without bond.
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this report misidentified the suspect under arrest as “Harris.” His name is Phillip Thomas II, and thanks to a reader, we have corrected our mistake. We regret the error.