SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Investigators are looking at possible links between the remnants of a violent 1960s radical group and several unsolved bank robberies, police said today.
Four members of Tribal Thumb were jailed after police found a small arsenal, bomb factory and boxes of Che Guevara's revolutionary writings in their house.
'We suspect these people may have been using bank robberies to finance their operations,' said Officer Ron Tannehill of the Police Department's special investigations unit.
Arrested Tuesday were Teresa Ball, 28, suspected of shoplifting; Benjamin Sargis, 49, Tribal Thumb leader, fugitive parolee and 1960s radical; Sara Stubbs, 32; and Bonnie Gordon, 30.
Sargis was held without bail at Santa Clara County Jail on charges of parole violation and possession of weapons by an ex-felon. Bail for the women -- facing charges of possessing explosive devices, narcotics and harboring a fugitive parolee -- was set at $100,000.
Tannehill said a search of the house where the group lived along with four children yielded large amounts of ammunition, 15 guns -- mostly shotguns loaded with buckshot -- a pipe bomb, gunpowder and other bomb-building material and $3,000 in cash.
Sargis was a founding member of Tribal Thumb, a communal group of ex-convicts and middle-class radicals that originated in Berkeley and subsequently moved to the peninsula, south of San Francisco.
The group eventually established the Well Springs Commune in rural Humboldt County. Member Richard London was convicted of the 1975 San Francisco murder of Black Prisoners Union leader Wilbur Jackson and Sally Voye. Sargis was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
Sargis was arrested at a Menlo Park radical hideout in 1975 during the hunt for kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst. He was arrested again in 1978 on a stolen property charge and spent four years in prison. He was paroled in April.