On February 2, a young white woman and a black man appeared at the Berkeley apartment Patricia Hearst shared with Steven Weed asking about apartments for rent in the area. They are believed to have been casing the place.
On February 4, a white woman came to the door about 9:30 p.m. and said that she had been in an accident and needed help. They opened the door and two black men, one armed with a rifle and the other with a pistol burst into the apartment. "In seconds," said Weed, "they had me face down on the floor in the hallway," clubbing him and kicking him in the head trying to knock him out. They stunned him and tied him up. Weed said he heard the woman say that she thought that they should kill him because he had seen them and he heard some sort of click behind him. He roused himself and sprinted through the apartment out the back door calling for help. The three kidnappers then carried Patricia Hearst out the front door, dumped her in the trunk of a car and sped off.
Three days later, Feb. 7, radio station KPSA received SLA communique number 3 — this time from the "Western Regional Adult Unit."
"Subject: Prisoner of War
"Target: Patricia Campbell Hearst, daughter of Randolph Hearst, Corporate Enemy of the People
"Warrant Order: Arrest and Protective Custody; if resistance execution."
Patricia Hearst, said the letter, would be kept in "adequate physical and mental condition&ldots;further communications will follow."
"Should any attempt be made by authorities to rescue the prisoner," warned the message, "or to arrest or harm any SLA elements, the prisoner is to be executed."
In a later message, the SLA said they were holding her prisoner for the crimes of her parents, her father as a propaganda voice for a repressive regime and her mother as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of California; specifically noted was the policy of the regents of maintaining heavy investments in corporations which made profits in Colonial Africa. But the clearest analysis of what the SLA was thinking when they kidnapped the young woman who is known as the most liberal member of the family, and most in disagreement with her parents' politics, comes from Patricia Hearst herself in her messages to her family on the SLA communiqués:
"These people aren't just a bunch of nuts," she said. "They've been really honest with me and they're perfectly willing to die for what they are doing&ldots;I am a prisoner of war and so are the two men in San Quentin. I am being treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention, one of the conditions being that I am not being tried for crimes for which I am not responsible for. I am here because I am a member of a ruling class family and I think you can begin to see the analogy. These people, the two men in San Quentin, are being held there and are going to be tried simply because they are members of the SLA and not because of anything they've done&ldots;whatever happens to the two prisoners is going to happen to me. You have to understand that I am being held innocent the same way the two men in San Quentin are innocent, that they are simply members of the group and had not done anything themselves to warrant their arrest."