“Our deputies are unveiling the suspect’s disturbing obsession with this homeowner who he had never met, but stalked on social media for years,” Chronister said.
Thomas parked his car at a nearby church and walked to Deville’s home in Lutz, a Tampa suburb; he then cut a hole in the patio screen, and watched and listened through the window for up to four hours, the sheriff’s office said.
When Deville went to bed, detectives say, Thomas entered through the back sliding glass door at around 2:45 a.m. on Sunday, activating the home alarm, which prompted Deville to look out the window and spot someone on her property. Deville and a guest quickly left the home and called 911, the sheriff’s office said.
Thomas is charged with aggravated stalking, armed burglary, attempted armed kidnapping, and criminal mischief, according to the sheriff’s department. He remains in jail with no bond,
according to the arrest details provided on the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office website; an attorney was not listed for Thomas.
“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,” Chronister said.
Deville took to Twitter under her account “Daddy Deville” to express gratitude to the sheriff’s office.
“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,” Deville tweeted.
Deville describes herself as the “first ever openly gay female in the WWE,” dubbing herself “The Pride Fighter.” She also stars in the E! Entertainment reality series “Total Divas.”
CNN’s Alta Spells and Jennifer Selva contributed to this report.