For a while, Anthony Hathaway looked like a success story: As a 20-year-old with only a high school diploma, he went to work as a technical designer for Boeing in Everett, Washington. By 30, he was an engineer in the galley systems group pulling in more than $100,000 a year. A ruptured disk in his back—the product of a roller-hockey injury, he thinks—was the beginning of an abrupt about-face. In a lengthy piece for Bloomberg Businessweek, Josh Dean explains back surgery Hathaway had in the mid-2000s led his doctor to prescribe him OxyContin. It spiraled into an addiction so severe that Hathaway and his 18-year-old son ended up living in their car in the Boeing parking lot. That wasn't the low point. Next came the heroin—and the bank robbery spree.
When OxyContin in 2010 altered the pill so as to make it uncrushable, Hathaway and his son started using heroin instead. His salary couldn't keep up with their habit, and in June 2011, they decided to rob a bank. His son went in but was arrested after a dye pack in the cash exploded as he left. Hathaway lost his job, moved in with his mother, and decided robbing banks was the way to go. "I started planning," he says—everything from timing to the best mask to how to source a getaway car. "I knew that as long as I didn’t leave any fingerprints or DNA or facial recognition that I should be able to pull this off." And so on Feb. 5. 2013, he hit the Banner Bank in Everett; 27 more robberies followed. He never used a weapon, and no take was bigger than $6,120. On his 29th, he made the mistake that would lead to him getting caught. Read the full story to learn what it was, and to hear his thoughts on how he "lost everything" because of Oxy. (Read more Longform stories.)