Rebecca Schaeffer

13 Crimes That Shocked the World and Changed Our Culture Forever

The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst

The 19-year-old granddaughter of publishing titan William Randolph Hearst (the inspiration for Citizen Kane) was kidnapped from her Berkeley apartment on Feb. 4, 1974, by members of the self-proclaimed Symbionese Liberation Army. Left-wing revolutionaries whose primary intention was to stick it to the Man. And commit some crimes. On April 15, 1974, members of the SLA robbed a branch of Hibernia Bank in San Francisco—and there was Hearst, wielding a machine gun. A couple weeks after the SLA released a video of her declaring her allegiance and saying her new name was “Tania.”

Was she at the bank out of fearful obedience? A sufferer of Stockholm syndrome? Or was she a willing participant? In 1976, Hearst was sentenced to 35 years in prison for her role in the robbery, during which two people were shot, but that was quickly knocked down to seven. She appealed and was in and out of jail on bail, until finally President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence to probation and 22 months of time served. President Bill Clinton granted her a full pardon before he left office in 2001.

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