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Patty Hearst kidnapping
The Bay Area

This view in Berkeley, California shows the street w/ the apartment (which for privacy will remain unmarked) where UC Berkeley student Patty Hearst was kidnapped at gunpoint.  Background info:



Around 9 o’clock in the evening on February 4, 1974, there was a knock on the door of Patty Hearst's apartment in Berkeley, California.


In burst a group of men and women with their guns drawn, they grabbed a surprised 19-year-old college student named Patty Hearst, beat up her fiancé, threw her in the trunk of their car and drove off.


Thus began one of the strangest cases in FBI history.


Hearst, it was soon discovered, had been kidnapped by a group of armed radicals that billed themselves as the Symbionese Liberation Army, or SLA. Led by a hardened criminal named Donald DeFreeze, the SLA wanted nothing less than to incite a guerrilla war against the U.S. government and destroy what they called the “capitalist state.” Their ranks included women and men, blacks and whites, and anarchists and extremists from various walks in life.


They were, in short, a band of domestic terrorists. And dangerous ones. They’d already shot two Oakland school officials with cyanide-tipped bullets, killing one and seriously wounding the other.


Why’d they snatch Hearst? To get the country’s attention, primarily. Hearst was from a wealthy, powerful family; her grandfather was the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The SLA’s plan worked and worked well: the kidnapping stunned the country and made front-page national news.


But the SLA had more plans for Patty Hearst. Soon after her disappearance, the SLA began releasing audiotapes demanding millions of dollars in food donations in exchange for her release. At the same time, they apparently began abusing and brainwashing their captive, hoping to turn this young heiress from the highest reaches of society into a poster child for their coming revolution.


That, too, seemed to work. On April 3, the SLA released a tape with Hearst saying that she’d joined their fight to free the oppressed and had even taken a new name. A dozen days later, she was spotted on bank surveillance cameras wielding an assault weapon during an SLA bank robbery, barking orders to bystanders and providing cover to her confederates. 


Meanwhile, the FBI had launched one of the most massive, agent-intensive searches in its history to find Hearst and stop the SLA. Working with many partners, we ran down thousands of leads. But with the SLA frightening potential informants into silence, using good operational security, and relying on an organized network of safe houses, it was tough going.


A break came in Los Angeles. On May 16, two SLA members tried to steal an ammunition belt from a local store and were nearly caught. The getaway van was discovered, which led authorities to an SLA safe house. The next day, the house was surrounded by L.A. police. A massive shootout ensued. The building went up in flames; six members of the SLA died in the blaze, including DeFreeze.


But where was Hearst? She and several others had escaped and began traveling around the country to avoid capture. FBI agents, though, were close behind. They finally captured her in San Francisco on September 18, 1975, and she was charged with bank robbery and other crimes.


Her trial was as sensational as the chase. Despite claims of brainwashing, the jury found her guilty, and she was sentenced to seven years in prison. Hearst served two years before President Carter commuted her sentence. She was later pardoned by President Clinton.  The last two members of the SLA would be arrested in 1999 and 2002.  The SLA has often been cited as America's first far-left domestic terrorist group.


Patty Hearst's kidnapping has also been an example of the term "Stockholm symdrome" where a hostage develops a psychological bond with their captors.  The term originates from a 1973 hostage bank robbery committed by Jan-Erik Olsson in Stockholm, Sweden.  When the four hostages were freed & testified in court after Olsson was captured, none of them testified against him but instead started raising money for Olsson's defense.



Copyright: William L
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 20756x10378
Taken: 26/12/2022
Uploaded: 31/12/2022


Tags: patty hearst; kidnapping; slá; symbionese liberation army; berkeley; california; stockholm syndrome; united federated forces; far left; domestic terrorism; crime; solved; fbi; radicals; anti-government; bay area
More About The Bay Area

The Bay Area is renowned for its natural beauty, affluence, diversity, and progressive thinking new age reputation. Lots of ammenities, tours and hotels can be found all around the area.San Francisco is the cultural and financial center of the Bay Area, and has the second highest population density of any major city in North America after New York City. It is also a major tourist destination, and transport and accommodation is plentiful, ranging from luxury hotels to cheap accommodation. San Jose is the largest city in terms of population, land area, and industrial development, and is the center of Silicon Valley, a well-known high technology region. Oakland is a major manufacturing and distribution center, rail terminus/hub, and has the fourth largest container shipping port in the United States.Largely because of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the Bay Area presently ranks second only to the much larger New York City region in number of Fortune 500 company headquarters (April 2010 Fortune Magazine).  source: wikipedia

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