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Your Neighborhood SLA Bank Robbery

Welcome to Curbed's ongoing series titled Hidden History, where Curbed Contributor Alex Bevk highlights a Bay Area location with a secret past. Maybe it's no longer there, maybe it's been converted into something else, but each spot holds a place in Bay Area history - even if not many people know it. Have a suggestion or know a place with a secret history? The tipline's always open or you can leave a comment after the jump.

1450 Noriega Street, site of the 1974 SLA bank robbery [Photo: Bing Maps]

The building at 1450 Noriega might look like any other neighborhood medical office building, but in 1974 the site was one of the most famous bank robberies of the century. Located at the corner of Noriega Street and 22nd Ave, the old Bank of America (formerly Hibernia Bank) branch was knocked over by the Symbionese Liberation Army and their most famous captive, Patty Hearst.

In February of 1974, Patty Hearst, grand-daughter of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in exchange for two group members who were arrested in the 1973 killing of Marcus Foster, Oakland's first African-American school superintendent. The SLA also demanded that Hearst's parents give millions of dollars to feed California's poor. According to her autobiography, she was locked in a closet for 57 days, eventually given an option of becoming a part of the SLA or be killed. She agreed to join and was christened with a new name, Tania.

Patty Hearst captured on bank surveillance cameras [Photo: Iconic Images]


On April 15, 1974, the SLA robbed the then-Hibernia Bank branch, stealing more than $10,000. Bank surveillance cameras showed Hearst holding a rifle. The SLA continued, with multiple dramatic attempts at capture by the police, and eventually Patty Hearst was arrested on September 18, 1975. After 2 years in prison, President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence in early 1979. In 2001, President Clinton granted her a pardon.
· Patty Hearst Bankrobber [Found SF]
· Heiress' life far removed from days of '74 kidnapping [CNN]