HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WPEC) - Investigators say a man traveled from South Carolina to Florida to take a WWE star hostage.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office arrested Phillip A. Thomas II on charges of aggravated stalking, armed burglary of a dwelling, attempted armed kidnapping and criminal mischief.
The sheriff's office only identified the victim as the homeowner, but CNN affiliate WFTS identified her as Sonya Deville, a professional wrestler and mixed martial artist.
On Sunday, deputies arrested him at a home in the Promenade at Lake Park subdivision in Lutz. Investigators said he parked his car at a nearby church and walked to the home where he cut a hole in the patio screen. He stayed there for three to four hours until the homeowner went to bed. He then opened the back sliding glass door which triggered an alarm. The homeowner woke up, saw the intruder, and left the home with a guest in a car and called 911. Deputies responded and found Thomas in the home, armed with a knife, plastic zip ties, duct tape, mace, and other items.
"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. Our deputies arrived within minutes and arrested this man who was clearly on a mission to inflict harm."
Deputies said Thomas planned his crime for more than eight months.