Abby Catt was just 18 when her father decided to bring her into the family business. But before long, the family’s unconventional way of making money would land her behind bars—along with her father and brother.
The family of bank robbers stole approximately $170,000 from Texas banks—with Abby serving as the getaway driver—before authorities caught up with them and arrested all three in November 2012, according to ABC News.
Now, Abby is facing motherhood herself and is hoping for a new start away from her life of crime.
“I just want to progress now, I don't want to fall back,” Abby told “20/20.” “[I’ve] grown up a little bit. … Just life is better on this side.”
Abby’s story and details of how her older brother Hayden Catt was able to convince to help in the robberies will be featured on Friday’s episode of “20/20.”
“Well, the way that he [Hayden] presented it to me was like, ‘We need you in order to be successful,’ and then it was just like, ‘Okay,’” she said on the program. “There was no question I was going to do it. … I had no questions. They told me they needed me, so I did it.”
Abby’s father, Scott Catt, had been struggling to raise his two children alone after the children’s mother died of breast cancer when they were young and initially began robbing banks on his own in Oregon, before turning to his children for help.
The family of three robbed their first bank together in August 2012 just a few blocks away from their home. While Hayden and Scott entered the bank, carrying pellet guns and wearing disguises to mask their identities, Abby waited outside in a getaway car.
Then just a few months later the trio would strike again, this time hitting the First Community Credit Union in Oct. 2012.
Father and son once again donned disguises—but this time their disguises would end up being their undoing. Investigators were able link Scott's credit card to the purchase at Home Depot of construction worker vests they had worn during the robbery.
All three were soon arrested. Scott pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and received 24 years. Hayden took a plea deal giving him a 10-year sentence and Abby took a plea deal that resulted in a five-year sentence.
She would later be released from jail after serving just two years and 10 months and spent her time behind bars studying for her GED and learning to sew, KTRK reports.
"I'd just like to say thank you to everybody for all the love and support. I probably, don't know how things would have turned out without everybody," she said at the time of her release.
A volunteer at the jail who had taught Abby to sew also offered to give her a home, but Abby soon fell into bad habits and was eventually asked to leave.
“I didn’t want any rules,” Abby told “20/20”. “My problem was that the only people that I knew were the people I had met in the jail. And I'm bored. I need someone to hang out with. I need someone to do something with. And slowly that kind of takes you down the wrong path.”
Soon Abby would land back behind bars for more than a year after violating conditions of her parole. After being released a second time, Abby went to live with her mother’s sister in Oregon—but once again she’d fall into bad habits.
Now, Abby is pregnant and is trying to get her life back on track.
“Everything changes once you find out you’re pregnant,” she said. “You can’t be selfish anymore, that’s for sure. And I know … I’ve always been a little bit selfish. So that feels good, though, it’s kind of a relief.”
Her older brother, who was just 20 at the time of the robberies, is also looking forward to the day when he’ll be released from prison. He has three years left on his sentence.
“The best thing that we have right now is we're both young and we've learned huge, life-shattering lessons at a young age,” he told ABC News. “I really feel like it's put us ahead of our peers.”
Hayden also regularly keeps up through letters with his dad, Scott, who told “20/20” in 2013 that involving his children in the robberies had been one of a lot of “bad choices.”
Hayden said his dad has now found faith and redemption behind bars.
“He did the best job with me and Abby that he could,” he said. “He lost his way. That’s for sure. We’ve had a lot of time [these six years] to think about that—what went wrong.”
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