Man arrested in alleged kidnapping attempt of WWE superstar Sonya Deville


Eight months of planning by a man described by police as “obsessed” with WWE wrestler Sonya Deville led to an attempted early morning kidnapping on Sunday.

Phillip Thomas, 24, was arrested after traveling from South Carolina to Deville’s home in Lutz, Florida, allegedly intending to take Deville, whose real name is Daria Berenato, hostage. Thomas was charged with armed kidnapping, armed burglary and aggravated stalking — all felonies — as well as one charge of criminal mischief.

According to police, Thomas planned the crime for eight months and sat outside Berenato’s home for several hours before attempting entry, but Berenato was alerted to his entry into her home via a sliding-glass door when it activated an alarm. Berenato saw Thomas on her property after looking out a window, at which point she and a guest fled the home, calling 911 in the process.

Police arrived to find Thomas still in the residence, carrying a knife, plastic zip ties, duct tape and mace.

“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 a statement. “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. Our deputies arrived within minutes and arrested this man who was clearly on a mission to inflict harm.”  

Berenato is a member of the WWE SmackDown roster and is set to compete in Sunday’s SummerSlam event. She is also WWE’s first out gay female wrestler. 

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