Jack Murphy gained notoriety in 1964 for committing what was then called the Jewel Robbery of the Century, lifting more than $2 million in gems from the J.P. Morgan collection in New York City’s American Museum of Natural History. Actor Don Stroud immortalized Jack, known as ‘Murf the Surf’, in the movie of the same name, a film that highlighted his daring jewel heist.
Murf served 21 years in prison in New York and Florida state prisons for the jewel heist and other serious crimes. In 1975, while incarcerated in Florida State Prison, Murf met prison ministry volunteers. It was that experience and a decision to follow Christ that changed Murf’s life forever.Upon his release from prison in 1985, Murf soon returned to prison, this time as a featured platform guest, speaking to inmates about his 21 years behind bars and boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.
Jack spent 30 years servicing the Lord on staff with Bill Glass Champions for Life, he has been a featured guest and speaker for Coalition of Prison Evangelists (COPE), KAIROS, and Good News Jail and Prison Ministry. Jack is on the Board of Directors of the International Network of Prison Ministries. He has spoken in over 1,200 prisons around the world.
Reflecting the incredible work Murf has accomplished in prisons around the world, his life-time parole was completely terminated in 2000.
Murf was the keynote speaker in Jerusalem during the 1st World Conference on Crime Prevention and Recidivism through Religion. In addition to being a regular on Christian TV and radio programs, Murf has also been a featured guest on CNN’s Larry King Live.
Murf is an accomplished painter (take a look and get one or the whole set signed by Jack for your ministry!) and musician and won two Hollywood Angel Awards in Evangelism, one for his book Jewels for the Journey, and the other for a TV documentary he directed entitled San Quentin Homecoming Reunion. In 1997, for his lifetime achievement in the sport, Murf was inducted into the Surfing Legends Hall of Fame.
Now living in Crystal River, Florida, with his wife Kitten and grandchildren.