CRYSTAL RIVER — Jack Roland Murphy, or “Murf the Surf,” the person in the back of the “Jewel Heist of the Century” in 1965 died Sunday at age 83, consistent with his spouse, Kitten.
Murphy, who used to be regularly referred to easily as “Murf,” used to be an notorious jewel thief in New York, a convicted assassin in Broward County and a reformed felon who lived his ultimate years in Citrus County. His 1960s crime spree ended in the Hollywood movie Murph the Surf in 1975.
The robbery of the Famous person of India and a dozen different treasured jewels from the American Museum of Herbal Historical past — and his arrest, two days later — used to be what first put Murphy within the nationwide highlight. What adopted used to be the lifetime of a people hero grew to become assassin, who slightly have shyed away from Florida’s electrical chair prior to in the end discovering God in jail.
Murphy used to be born in California however moved regularly as a child. He landed in Pennsylvania the place he in the end performed tennis on the College of Pittsburgh. He were given bored with the snow, he instructed the then St. Petersburg Occasions in 2012, and headed south for Miami at 18 years previous.
It used to be in Florida, whilst instructing tennis classes at upscale motels, the place Murphy first started to thieve. He additionally changed into one of the crucial distinguished surfers of the time — even taking first position in a festival in Virginia Seashore in 1963 that used to be a precursor to the East Coast Surfing Championships.
Native hustlers and thieves used Murphy’s athleticism to their benefit, Murphy instructed the New York Occasions final 12 months. After robbing mansions alongside the Intracoastal Waterway, he would swim the jewels to a getaway automotive at the mainland.
In 1965, Murphy deliberate to rob the American Museum of Herbal Historical past in New York. Murphy effectively made off with the famed Famous person of India sapphire, which is greater than a golfing ball, together with different treasured gemstones that have been valued on the similar of $three million lately.
Murphy and his co-conspirators — even though a hit in escaping the museum with out being stuck — didn’t get some distance. Simply two days after leaving New York Town with the stolen jewels, Murphy used to be arrested in Miami. He used to be sentenced to 2 years in jail. The Famous person of India used to be present in a locker at a Miami bus station.
That used to be just the start of Murphy’s felony troubles.
Murphy stole once more upon his unlock from jail in 1967, consistent with the Occasions, which in the end ended in homicide.
All over a heist in South Florida, Murphy bludgeoned and hacked two girls to loss of life and dumped their our bodies in a creek, consistent with courtroom information.
Murphy used to be sentenced to lifestyles in jail.
Whilst serving time, Murphy instructed the St. Petersburg Occasions that he discovered God after numerous journeys from chaplains to the jail in Starke, Fla., the place he used to be sentenced to spend the remainder of his lifestyles.
After 17 years in jail, Murphy used to be launched on parole in 1986 and devoted his lifestyles to serving to different inmates in jail to find faith. He spent the general years of his lifestyles touring from Crystal River to evangelise to inmates in a dozen nations, consistent with the Occasions.
He’d by no means thieve once more — however he did nonetheless make his far more than to Florida’s East Coast to surf. The Florida Surf Museum in Cocoa Seashore launched a commentary in remembrance of Murphy on Sunday:
“Jack ‘Murf the Surf’ Murphy — browsing pioneer, jewel thief, convicted assassin, who spent the remainder of his lifestyles ministering the phrase of Jesus in prisons the world over — has kicked the bucket. We will be able to publish extra main points once we get them …”