Famed Miami-Raised Jewel Thief Dies

The Miami man who pulled off the biggest jewel heist in New York City history has died.

Jack "Murph the Surf" Murphy died at the age of 83 at his home in Crystal River.

In 1964, Murphy and his accomplices stole the Star of India, the sapphire that's bigger than a golf ball, from the American Museum of Natural History.,

Murphy and his henchmen also robbed waterfront mansions in Miami, escaping on speedboats in scenes fit fore the big screen,.

But Murph the Surf left a trail of clues. Detectives were able to track them down and found some pilfered loot in pouches in Biscayne Bay.

Stealing the Star of India wasn't hard. Many of the security features were broken and there were few guards in the complex. Murphy told the "New York Times" last year that the jewels spoke to him and told him: "Take us to Miami."

According to The Times: "Mr. Murphy ministered to thousands of inmates over decades, became a television evangelist and appeared with celebrities at prayer breakfasts, once with President Ronald Reagan. His friend the N.F.L. quarterback Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys called his redemption real enough."

A movie about the jewel heist, "Murph the Surf" was released in 1975.

Image courtesy Getty

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