The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that a man was arrested this morning for trying to kidnap someone he had never met but had been stalking on social media for years.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office did not identify the victim but the home where the suspect was arrested happens to be the home owned by 26-year-old Daria Berenato, known to WWE fans as Sonya Deville.
According to police, Phillip A. Thomas III, 24, began planning the abduction eight months ago. Thomas reportedly parked his car around midnight on a road near the home. When he arrived at the home, he cut a hole in the patio screen and remained on the patio for three to four hours while watching and listening through the windows.
The police say that the homeowner looked out a window and saw Thomas on the property and then called 911. The homeowner reportedly fled with a guest in the car and Thomas was still in the house when deputies arrived.
Police say he was carrying a knife, plastic zip ties, duct tape, mace and other items and he told deputies that he was planning on taking 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."
Thomas has been charged with aggravated stalking, armed burglary of a dwelling, attempted armed kidnapping, and criminal mischief. He is currently being held without bail.
There is a Twitter account under the name @Phillip80400010 dedicated to tweets and retweets about Deville.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with more information to contact them at 813-247-8200.