Mandy Rose was with her good friend Sonya Deville on Sunday when Phillip A. Thomas II tried to abduct Deville at her home in Lutz, Florida.
The Tampa Bay Times has revealed new details on the incident, which come from Deville’s motion for the temporary injunction against Thomas, which was granted this week. Additional details were revealed from the prosecutor’s motion to keep Thomas in jail without bail.
As noted, Thomas drove from his home in South Carolina and arrived in Florida around midnight Sunday morning. He parked his car near Deville’s home, in the parking lot of Idlewild Church off Dale Mabry Highway and Van Dyke Road in Lutz, and then walked to a nearby subdivision where Deville’s home is. Thomas then cut a hole in her patio screen and waited for hours, watching and listening through windows. Thomas watched as Deville went to bed around shortly before 3aam, and then tried to enter the home through a sliding glass door. This triggered Deville’s security system, and Deville looked out a window to see Thomas on her property. She and Rose immediately left the home in a car, and called 911. Police arrived and found Thomas still in the home. He was found in possession of a knife, zip ties, mace, duct tape, a window punch, and other items. Thomas admitted to police that he planned to take Deville hostage. He also admitted to planning the crime for the past 8 months.
Deville noted in her petition for an injunction to protect her from Thomas that she yelled at the 24 year old when he triggered the home alarm.
“What are doing, what do you want?” Deville yelled as Thomas stared at her from just four feet away. Thomas then began to walk toward her.
“That is when I realized this person was not here to rob me, he was there to hurt me,” Deville wrote in the petition, which has been granted to her by the court.
Records state that Thomas was holding the knife and pepper spray when he came face to face with Deville.
The petition also outlines the increasingly threatening messages that police say Thomas had been sending via social media, including one message that was sent from Deville’s porch.
Deville stated in her account that she went to bed around 1:15am ET. The security alarm went off at 2:41am, and that’s when she ran to the keypad by her garage to disarm the system. The system was showing that a family room door had been opened. Deville woke up her friend, Rose, and ran to the family room.
“As I was ensuring the sliding glass door lock was secure, I looked up and on my back lanai [porch] was Phillip,” Deville wrote.
Deville said when Thomas started walking toward her, she ran to Rose’s room.
“There’s a man in the house, we have to go,” Deville told Rose. Deville then grabbed her car keys, went to the garage and the two sped away. Deville then called 911.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies arrived minutes later and found Thomas still in the home. Deville watched video from her security system and saw that Thomas had followed her in the home, “but he thought I ran up the stairs, leaving me and my friend just enough time to escape.”
We’ve noted how Thomas’ social media postings show that he has been obsessed with Deville for some time, and even interacted with some of her fans. After learning his identity from deputies, Deville typed his name into her Instagram account and found hundreds of messages from his account, dating back to March 2019.
“The nature of the messages from this account were obsessive, suicidal, idolizing, saying, ‘You are the only person I will ever love,’” Deville wrote, adding that she saw another Instagram account without a profile photo that contained what she described as similar grammar and “disturbingly threatening.”
The last message from that account arrived at 12:16am on Sunday, according to Deville. The message said: “Look outside, baby, by your pool. I’m here. I’m gonna kill that little bitch you have inside with you.”
The other messages from that account began on July 5 of this year. One said, “I found your home address,” and included the address. In other messages, the sender from that account had threatened to decapitate or go after Deille’s friends and relatives by name, and also described sex acts they threatened to commit. One message included a photo of a penis.
“I’m a public figure with a social media following of almost 1 million so all his messages were in my ‘request’ folder, which is filled with thousands of messages from people I do not follow,” Deville wrote in the petition.
The arrest report and motion filed by prosecutors, to keep Thomas in jail without bail, notes that he drove his green, two-door 1997 Ford Thunderbird from his home in South Carolina to Lutz.
The police report also notes that Thomas remained in the house after Deville and Rose left in the car, thinking they were upstairs hiding.
“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,” the motion from prosecutors says. “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.”
As noted, a judge granted Deville’s request for a temporary injunction against stalking violence this week. A later hearing is scheduled to make that injunction permanent.
It was noted that the petition was handwritten by Deville. Thomas has a pre-trial bail hearing on Thursday but prosecutors are trying to keep him incarcerated without bail. The motion says the only way to keep Deville and the public safe is to hold Thomas because of his “longterm obsession” with her, the anger displayed in the messages and the lengths to which Thomas went to plan and conduct the kidnapping.
As noted, the 24 year old Thomas, who worked at an Applebee’s restaurant before making the trip to Lutz this weekend, remains incarcerated at the Hillsborough County Jail in Florida. He has been charged with Attempted Armed Kidnapping, Criminal Mischief, Armed Burglary of a Dwelling, and Aggravated Stalking. Thomas was assigned a public defender on Monday, and has invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
Deville and Rose are currently feuding on WWE TV but they have been friends for some time. They will do battle in a “Hair vs. Hair” match at Sunday’s WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view.
Stay tuned for updates on the case. For those who missed it, below are post-arrest photos of Thomas:
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