MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A grieving Memphis family became a victim of crime after thieves allegedly stole a car from a home where two women died in a fire last week.
Gerald Rutherford is mourning the loss of his mother, 85-year-old Ernestine Sturghill, and his sister, 66-year-old Cynthia Webb. The two died last Monday in an accidental electrical fire that started at his mother’s home in Whitehaven.
This week, first responders were called to the home again after his mother’s 2014 Chrysler 300 was stolen.
“It was devastating because here it is, we’re dealing with the fact of my mother and my sister’s death, and now all of a sudden somebody comes over and takes advantage of the moment,” Rutherford said. “People are hitting people in their weakest moments. When we think you’re alright, someone is there trying to take us down.”
Rutherford said a neighbor alerted him of the theft.
“When I got to the house, I had noticed that they had ripped the bottom half of the garage up and got the car out,” he recalled.
He said somehow the thieves were able to trigger the push the start with the key fob.
Luckily, Rutherford said a repairman saw the whole thing and told him there were three suspects who arrived in a white Challenger with a red stripe.
“Two other guys that were wearing ski masks had been in the garage where the car was at and all of a sudden, they came out and went down the street,” he said.
It only adds to Rutherford’s hurt as he lives with the trauma of arriving at the burning home before firefighters, watching as they pulled out his sister’s body.
“And to see her laying in the front lawn dead, that hurt, and to see my mother and they tried to revive her, it wasn’t to be,” he said.
WREG learned the car was sold to a couple on Facebook Marketplace, who called Memphis Police and learned it was stolen. Rutherford said he’s relieved the car has been recovered, but the family’s loss is greater.
“We gone be strong. We gone make this work. We gone come through. This is a test like them stealing the car, that was a test, test our of strength how we gone still bond together,” Rutherford said.
MPD said no arrest has been made in this case. If you know anything call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.