There was a scary story earlier this week about a man named Philip A. Thomas II that broke into the Tampa area home of WWE superstar Sonya Deville (real name Daria Berenato). Thomas tried to kidnap her, but Daria managed to get away. Daria had her best friend Mandy Rose (Amanda Saccomanno) staying in the house with her at the time, so the two women were able to see Thomas in the house and an alarm went off at 2:41am as well. They fled in their car, called the police and the police arrested Thomas, who was still in the home.
The incident took place late Saturday night, early Sunday morning with Thomas being arrested sometime around 3am early Sunday morning. Thomas drove to Tampa from his home in South Carolina with the intent to harm Berenato. It has also been revealed that this week that he has threatened members of her family, her ex-girlfriend and others as well.
In a message that Thomas sent a few hours before he broke into Berenato’s home, he allegedly wrote: “Look outside, baby, by your pool. I’m here. I’m gonna kill that little b**** you have inside with you.”
Thomas faces charges of aggravated stalking, armed burglary and attempted armed kidnapping. Thomas has no past criminal history. Prosecutors say that Thomas had a knife, zip ties, duct tape and mace with him when he broke into Berenato’s home. They also found that Thomas had sent Berenato several private, disturbing messages on social media over the last few months. On Instagram, you can send private messages to anybody although it doesn’t mean they will be read. On Thomas’ Twitter account, the posts were public.
In a ruling during a hearing at a Tampa courtroom yesterday, “Hillsborough Circuit Judge Catherine Catlin found that Phillip Thomas II is a threat to the safety of the community and denied the defense’s motion to set bail.” That is according to the Tampa Bay Times, who have been covering the case.
It was argued by Thomas’ lawyer, Assistant Public Defender John Grant, that Thomas bail should be set at $2 million, which Thomas can’t afford and that authorities could track Thomas with a GPS monitor.
Judge Catlin responded to that with this: “I don’t see any way we can protect our community in Hillsborough County if we give him bail. A GPS on him gives me no peace of mind. A GPS monitor does nothing for me.”
During the hearing on Thursday, Berenato commented on what happened from her perspective:
“The curtains were drawn so I pulled them back and I saw a man standing there and he had black clothes on and a black mask. He was just standing there staring at me. That’s when I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is…this is…this must be more than a burglary or robbery or anything like that.'”
Berenato added: “I was terrified, I was screaming, ‘What the f–k are you doing here?'” Berenato went over to Mandy’s guest room and yelled for her to get up. When they were both awake, they got out of there and drove away while calling 911.
Berenato went on to explain more about the hectic situation:
“We were terrified. I jumped in the driver’s seat and she was in the passenger seat. I was screaming, ‘Your car won’t start, your car won’t start.’ We eventually circled back and stayed like a good distance from my house and we saw the deputy with his gun drawn in my garage.”
Earlier in the week, Berenato and her lawyers filed a petition for a protection order (Tampa Bay Times). The petition stated:
“The defendant admitted that his intention was to take Mrs. Berenato hostage by spraying her (with pepper spray), binding her hands with zip ties, and wrapping duct tape around her arms to prevent (her) from fighting back. He stated that he intended to keep Mrs. Berenato hostage, preventing her from attending a planned event schedule for the following week (presumably the hair vs. hair match at SummerSlam) and that he was not going to leave her residence without her answering all of his questions.”
Here’s a video of Thursday’s hearing posted by ABC Action News WFTS-TV in Tampa with footage from the court hearing including comments from Berenato.
WWE Superstar Sonya Deville is 26 years old and is heading into WWE SummerSlam this Sunday night in Orlando where she faces Mandy Rose in a “Hair vs. Hair Match” that is a battle of the former best friends. They are former best friends on screen, but obviously they are still very close friends. Deville is also part of the WWE Smackdown brand, which has a show tonight as well. It’s not known if Sonya or Mandy will be on Smackdown tonight and frankly if they were given the day off, it would certainly be understandable.
Deville has stayed silent on Twitter since posting this message on Sunday night.
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. 🖤
— Daddy Deville (@SonyaDevilleWWE) August 17, 2020
There are more notes on the details of the incident in this Tampa Bay Times article here as well. They have done a great job of covering the story all week.
TJR Thoughts: The whole thing is a scary situation and I don’t know how Sonya or Mandy are going to concentrate on SummerSlam or if they appear on Smackdown tonight. Then again, maybe being at their WWE jobs surrounded by friends and loved ones will be the best thing for them. I’m glad that the judge denied bail for this psycho that clearly needs help.
Most importantly of all, I’m glad that Sonya and Mandy are safe. I’m sure they are rattled, this is not something that is just going to go away and I truly hope they can live their lives normally after this, even though it’s probably going to be very difficult to do at least in the short term. Best wishes to both. Please be safe out there, everybody.