Family, victim claim police have wrong people in alleged burglary

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - An alleged burglary victim says Memphis police have the wrong man in a wild investigation that includes a burglar being busted in an attic.

The bizarre string of events started in May, with the burglary of a home on Pinedale Street.  A neighbor, Jessie Mitchell, told police Robert Maness was the perpetrator.

"He turned around and got smart on me and I called police on him," Mitchell said. "I didn't like him too much anyway, 'cause he didn't look right."

Police arrested Maness, who wound up escaping, and was later found hiding in an attic. Police also arrested his girlfriend, 19-year-old Tessa Douglas.

According to an affidavit of complaint, "a witness observed Tessa Douglas and Robert Maness walk up the driveway and go to the side of the house. Tessa Douglas was observed to enter the house....The witness identified Tessa Douglas in a photo spread."

But, the alleged robbery victim says he knows who burglarized his house, and Douglas and Maness are not the ones.

"I do believe that O.C.U. and the detectives have made a mistake," the victim said.

Additionally, Tessa Douglas' father, Gregg, claims his daughter was locked up for a crime she didn't commit.

"There is evidence whatsoever, no property retrieved or found or anything, and how could someone go and arrest someone with no evidence whatsoever?" he asked.

The only evidence the affidavit of complaint describes is the witness's testimony.

Memphis police declined an interview Tuesday, but a spokesperson later released this statement:

"The Memphis Police Department stands by this investigation and will work with the District Attorney General to prosecute this case in court...We will bring to your attention that the victim was out of town during the crime and thus can not have witnessed the incident, and may not be privy to all information that the investigators have to precede with the case."

If you have information that could aid the police investigation, call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.