Catt family bank robberies: How it all began

Catt family bank robberies: How it all began »Play Video
From left to right: Ronald Scott Catt, Hayden Catt and Abigail Catt.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Bank robbery was a family business for a father and his kids from Oregon after their lives went off the tracks.
They were the picture of a happy McMinnville family. So what drove a father, his son and daughter to start robbing banks?

Scott Catt says he got into drugs after his wife’s death from breast cancer. His kids Hayden and Abby had been standout students in McMinnville.

Police in McMinnville eventually tied Scott Catt to local bank robberies starting in 2006. Catt says it was to support his drug habit.

In 2012, he convinced his children to help him rob banks until all three were finally caught after a bank robbery in Texas.

He said during an interview airing tonight at 10 on ABC’s 20/20 that he had to rob banks to make ends meet.

The sheriff allowed Hayden and Abby to see each other one last time before they started serving their sentences. Hayden will serve 10 years behind bars and Abby will serve five.

Just last week a letter surfaced from Scott to his children, written before any of them were sentenced, asking the kids to just accept a plea deal and take the prison time. That would let him use that as a bargaining chip for less jail time for himself.

McMinnville police couldn't charge Scott Catt with the bank robberies there, because the statute of limitations for those crimes had expired. But they sent that information to authorities in Texas to be used in his sentencing there.

Just last week Scott Catt finally accepted a sentence of 24 years in prison.

Watch the 20/20 interview on KATU, starting at 10 tonight. Then at 11 on KATU News, On Your Side Investigator Bob Heye will have what Scott Catt claims was his breaking point.