A South Carolina man obsessed with WWE star Sonya Deville, was arrested on Sunday after trying to kidnap her, police said. The man broke into Deville's Florida home in the middle of the night on Sunday with all the tools required to kidnap and take her hostage, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities said that Deville luckily escaped the kidnap bid and is safe now. The man had apparently planned the kidnapping for months, which he admitted was out of sheer obsession and nothing else. Deville later released a statement thanking her fans and the police for their concern.
Obsession Leads to Crime
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, 24-year-old Phillip Thomas II allegedly traveled from South Carolina to Deville's home in Lutz, Florida, on August 16 with the plan to kidnap the professional wrestler. Thomas planned to then take her hostage, police said.
Police initially didn't identify Deville as the target but said that Thomas planned to break into the house around 2.45 am. However, Deville and a guest were alerted about Thomas' entry into her house when the home security alarm went off once the suspect broke in through the back sliding door of her home, police said. Deville and her guest then fled the home without making a noise and called up 911 to alert the police.
Officers responded to the call and arrived at her house. Thomas was still there at Deville's house when officers arrived and was found with a range of tools including a knife. He was immediately arrested. Deville later returned home. An investigation has been launched and Thomas is being questioned.
A Narrow Escape
Thomas' exact intentions are still unknown but police believe that it was primarily his obsession for the professional wrestler that led him to plan the kidnapping. According to police, Thomas had been planning to kidnap Deville for more than eight months and finally tried to execute his plan on Sunday morning.
When police arrived, Thomas was found with 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," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement.
Deville was later back at her home and police stayed there till she went to bed. Officers said that the incident could have turned into a more dangerous affair had Deville not got alerted by the security alarm. Later, she thanked the police for their timely assistance. "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," she tweeted.
Thomas has been apparently stalking Deville for more than a year. He has been charged with aggravated stalking, armed burglary of a dwelling, attempted armed kidnapping, and criminal mischief.