Patty Hearst, SLA in Bank Robbery!
By Patrick Mondout
At 10:00 a.m. on April 15, 1974, members of the Symbionese
Liberation Army (SLA) robbed the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco. The
surprise was not the robbery itself, but that kidnapped heiress Patty
Hearst was seen on the bank security camera taking part (see picture
Two bystanders were shot, but survived. The terrorists, who kidnapped
Patty Hearst on February 4, got away with $10,960. Only eleven days
earlier, a taped message from Patty Hearst claimed that she was free to
go, but that she had freely decided to join the SLA.
While the Hearst family and the FBI continued to say that she was
brainwashed - the FBI going so far as to say its technical analysis of the
bank photos showed that a gun was pointed at her the whole time and that
hers may not have been loaded - the public started to see things
differently. Was she a kidnapping victim or a willing participant?
The U.S. Attorney in charge of the case was quoted as say, "It
seems they were going out of their way to have her identified as Patty
Hearst." Indeed, none of the five who entered the bank made any
effort to hide their identity and Hearst seemed to be on display.
Another tape nine days later from Patty suggests that her gun was
loaded and that she was a willing participant and that further study of
the photographs would prove it. She also suggested that if that didn't
work, her future actions would prove it. If anyone needed proof as to
whether or not Patty's gun was loaded, they got it a
month later in Los Angeles.
conviction stemmed mainly from her actions in the Hibernia Bank.
(First picture) A
De Freeze take the guard's gun away during the
initial stages of the robbery.
(Second picture) The bank
was nearly destroyed during the 1906 San Francisco
earthquake. It then temporarily housed the Harbor
Police Station before returning to its use as a
bank. After the bank closed in the Awesome80s, it
once again became a police station.
Courtesy of the FBI/USGS.
- Shana Alexander, Anyone's
Daughter: The Times and Trials of Patricia Hearst,
- Carolyn Anspacher & the San Francisco Chronicle, The
Trial of Patty Hearst, Great Fidelity Press, 1976.
- Marilyn Baker, Exclusive!:
the inside story of Patricia Hearst and the SLA, Macmillan
- Mary F. Beal, Safe
House: A Casebook Study of Revolutionary Feminism in the 1970's,
Northwest Matrix, 1976.
- Jerry Belcher & Don West, Patty/Tania,
Pyramid Books, 1975
- David Boulton, The
Making Of Tania Hearst, Bergenfield, N.J., U.S.A.: New American
- John Bryan, This
Soldier Still At War, (on Joe Remiro) Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
- Patty Hearst with Alvin Moscow, Patty
Hearst: Her Own Story, New York: Avon, 1982. This was the title
after the movie came out. Original title: Every Secret Thing.
- Sharon D. Hendry, Soliah:
The Sara Jane Olson Story, Cable Publishing, 2002.
- Janey Jimenez (U.S. Marshal who escorted Hearst between prison and the
court during the trial) with Ted Berkman, My
Prisoner, Sheed Andrews and McMeel, 1977.
- Jean Brown Kinney, An
American journey: The short life of Willy Wolfe, Simon and Schuster,
- Vin McLellan, Paul Avery, The
voices of guns: The definitive and dramatic story of the twenty-two-month
career of the Symbionese Liberation Army, one of the most bizarre chapters
in the history of the American Left, Putnam, 1977.
- John Pascal, The
Strange Case of Patty Hearst, New American Library, 1974.
- Findley & Craven Payne, Life
and Death of the SLA, Ballantine, 1976.
- Robert Brainard Pearsall, Symbionese
Liberation Army: Documents and Communications, Rodopi, 1974
- Fred Soltysik, In
Search of a Sister 1976.
- Steven Weed, with Scott Swanton. My
Search for Patty Hearst, New York: Warner, 1976. Weed was Hearst's
boyfriend at the time of the kidnapping. That was the end of their
- Video: Patty
Hearst, based on Every Secret Thing, directed by Paul
- Video: The Ordeal of Patty Hearst (1979) (TV)
- Video: Patty Hearst: The E! True Hollywood Story (2000) (TV)
- Video: Neverland:
The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army aka Guerrilla:
The Taking of Patty Hearst, Directed by Robert Stone, 2004,