In the early hours on August 16, Phillip A. Thomas II was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for attempting to kidnap WWE Superstar Daria Berenato (Sonya Deville). He was later charged with aggravated stalking, armed burglary of a dwelling, attempted armed kidnapping, and criminal mischief.
The Tampa Bay Times reported Thomas began planning the abduction eight months ago and travelled to Lutz, Florida from South Carolina. He parked at a nearby church around midnight and walked to Berenato's home. He then cut a hole in the patio screen and waited on the porch for three to four hours. At 2: 43 am, Thomas entered the home through a sliding glass door, triggering the alarm. Berenato looked out the window, spotted Thomas and fled the property with a guest. She then called 911 and Thomas was still in her home when the police arrived. At the time of his arrest, Thomas was carrying duct tape, a mace, a knife, plastic zip ties and other items. He admitted to deputies he was planning to take Berenato hostage.
David Bixenspan obtained a copy of the petition for protection against stalking Deville filed on Monday in the Hillsborough County Court. Within the petition, the WWE Superstar gave a first-hand account of the events on Sunday morning.
Berenato wrote: "I went to bed at around 1:15 am at 2:41 am my house alarm went off. I ran to the keypad by my garage to disarm the system, the system stated that the family room door was open. I woke up my friend and I ran to the living room to make sure the doors were secure. As I was ensuring the sliding glass lock was secure, I looked up and on my back lanai was Phillip standing maybe 4 feet away staring at me. I began screaming 'What are you doing, What do you want?' He began walking toward the door I was at, that is when I realized this person was not here to rob me, he was there to hurt me."
Berenato ran to her friend's room and told her "There's a man in the house we have to go." They then fled the house together in her car.
The WWE Superstar later watched video footage from her ADT system and saw Thomas followed her into the house but he thought she ran upstairs which gave her and her friend enough time to escape. She then searched Thomas' name on Instagram and realised he had sent her hundreds of messages. Berenato also discovered a second account which used similar grammar to Thomas'. The last message from the second account was at 12:12 am on August 16. It read: "Look outside baby, by your pool I'm here. I'm gonna kill that little b***h you have inside with you."
In an update, The Tampa Bay Times obtained a copy of the court motion which prosecutors filed to hold Thomas without bail. The document revealed the friend at Berenato's address was fellow WWE Superstar Amanda Saccomanno (Mandy Rose).
Prosecutors also noted: "The defendant admitted that his intention was to take Mrs. Berenato hostage by spraying her (with) pepper spray, binding her hands with the zip ties, and wrapping duct tape around her arms to prevent from fighting back. He stated that he intended to keep Mrs. Bernato hostage, preventing her from attending a planned event schedule for the following week, and that he was not going to leave her residence without her answering all of his questions."