How a Texas Woman Recruited by Her Father to Rob Banks Is Moving on With Her Life

Abby Catt was just 18 when she went on her first bank heist with her dad.

December 25, 2015, 9:57 AM

— -- A young woman who was recruited as a teen by her father to rob banks is slowly rebuilding her life since being released from a Texas jail this September.

"I am doing wonderful this Christmas season. I have a better life, a whole new life. I've been very blessed," Abby Catt, 21, recently told ABC News' "20/20."

Abby Catt was just 18 years old when she went on her first bank heist with her father Scott Catt and her brother Hayden Catt, then 20, in August 2012.

Hayden Catt claimed he and his father entered each bank with pellet guns drawn and wearing disguises, while Abby Catt waited outside in the getaway car.

"I was scared. It was just something you just, like, want it to be over with," Abby Catt told "20/20" in a 2013 interview. "My dad would yell at me to not drive fast, so I didn't."

The Catt family got away with a garbage bag full of $50,000 from the Comerica Bank in Katy, Texas. By their second heist at the First Community Credit Union in Katy, Texas, in October 2012, the family had stolen $108,000 together.

"I know the part that I played was wrong, but it was my family, and the loyalty was greater at that point," Abby Catt said of her involvement in the bank robberies.

Police were able to quickly identify the Catt family by the construction worker vests that Scott Catt ordered his children to buy for disguises. And on Nov. 9, 2012, Scott Catt, Hayden Catt and Abby Catt were all arrested.

Scott Catt admitted to police he had previously robbed banks in Oregon before he moved his family to Texas, where he convinced his children to help him rob more banks.

Scott Catt pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and accepted a sentence of 24 years in a Texas prison. Hayden Catt accepted a plea deal with a 10-year sentence. He will be eligible for parole in two years.

Abby Catt accepted a plea deal with a five-year sentence. Instead of sending her to prison, Fort Bend County, Texas, Sheriff Troy Nehls decided to keep Abby Catt at the county jail.

"I just feel that she's more of a victim in this. So my goal is to try to educate her, get her where she could get her GED and try to teach her some type of a skill set here so when she gets out she can lead a productive life," Nehls told "20/20" in a 2013 interview.

Abby Catt used her time behind bars to study for her GED and worked sewing patches on uniforms and hemming pants. After two years and ten months, she was released on good behavior this past October, under the condition that she remain in Texas.

She now lives with Steve and Susie Gregory, who met Abby Catt while volunteering in the jail as a sewing teacher. With the help of the Gregory's, Abby Catt got a job at a fast food restaurant.

"I didn't think too much about it until we watched the '20/20' show," Susie Gregory told "20/20." "I was just overcome. I said, 'This is wrong. This is just wrong. She should not be in jail for this.' And I just felt like God put me in, you know, that sewing room for Abby."

"Susie has done a lot for me … motivating me and keeping me busy on the things that I needed to get done," Abby Catt said. "Susie's role in my life is a mother figure."

Abby Catt said she struggles with guilt over her role in the robberies. She said she misses her brother and even forgives her father.

"My love for [my father] is unconditional. And it tells us that we have to forgive, so I forgive for myself," Abby Catt said. "And he's my dad. And I love my dad. And I loved my dad before. And I love my dad after. And it's just how it is."

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