LUTZ, Fla. (WFLA) — A 24-year-old South Carolina man was arrested early Sunday morning for traveling to Lutz and attempting to carry out a hostage scenario he had been planning for more than eight months, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies said Phillip A. Thomas II had been stalking WWE star Sonya Deville, a Lutz resident, for the past few years on social media. Thomas reportedly admitted he traveled to Florida overnight with plans to take the former UCF fighter hostage.
The suspect reportedly parked his car at Idle Wild Church earlier in the night, walked up to the home in the Promenade at Lake Park subdivision, and cut a hole in the patio screen. Deputies said he waited there for about three to four hours, watching and listening through the windows.
After the Deville went to bed, Thomas allegedly opened the back sliding glass door, which activated the home alarm. The wrestling star looked outside the window and spotted an individual on the property, prompting her to flee the home in a car and call 911.
When deputies arrived, they found Thomas inside the home. He was reportedly carrying a knife, plastic zip ties, duct tape and mace. The sheriff’s office said Thomas admitted to deputies he was planning on taking Deville 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,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “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 was charged with aggravated stalking, armed burglary, attempted kidnapping, and criminal mischief.
News Channel 8 received the following statement from current WWE superstar Titus O’Neil regarding the situation:
“I have spoken to her and I’m glad she’s safe and I’m thankful and grateful that the sheriff’s office took care of the situation immediately. Celebrity status aside this is sickening. I am a product of a sexual assault and have zero-tolerance or respect for any human being that would violate a person’s privacy and or personal space.”
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