Academy Sports Fires Manager Who Stopped Gun Thief

Academy Sports said store manager Dean Crouch violated store policy when he tackled a thief fleeing with a stolen Glock.

Tallahassee, FL – The manager of a sporting goods chain store was fired after he tackled a suspect who had stolen a handgun and threatened to shoot people.

Dean Crouch, 32, was the store manager at Academy Sports when he stopped 24-year-old Jason White from getting away with a .40-caliber pistol he had just stolen from the store’s firearms counter on June 29, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

"My employee yelled stop that man," Crouch told WCTV. "I turned and looked and saw Mr. White running from the gun bar toward the front of the store with a firearm in his hand. At the front door is where I stopped him. I tackled him to the ground. We apprehended him, um, and detained him. We secured the firearm."

But Academy has a policy against touching customers, even if the employee was doing so to protect others.

Crouch said he was initially suspended for a week, and then fired via a conference call on July 10, WCTV reported.

The incident that resulted in his firing actually began hours before White stepped into Academy Sports.

Tallahassee police said White was accused of stealing two handguns from Cash America Pawn on South Adams Street earlier in the day, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

Later, at Academy Sports, White asked to look at a Glock handgun from the locked display counter, according to WCTV.

When the employee handed him the gun, White grabbed it and then started to make a run for the exit.

According to court records, Crouch saw what had happened and heard the employee’s yell for assistance. He subdued White at the exit.

Arrest paperwork filed with the Leon County Clerk said Crouch “ran after him, making contact (tackling him) just past the first doors.” The gun flew out of White’s hand when he was tackled, WCTV reported.

Once White was captured, they recovered the gun, a stolen backpack, five boxes of ammunition, and two magazines for the Glock.

White was taken into the store’s office to wait for police to arrive after being apprehended. While there, he admitted to stealing the gun and threatened to shoot people, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

“I stole and I admit to it,” White told officers, according to the Tallahassee Police Department’s incident report. "I will steal again when I get out of jail.”

Court records showed that White claimed he and his family were being threatened by someone, and he wanted the gun to “kill him.” He told police to watch for him on the evening news, WCTV reported.

“Just you wait and see,” White said, according to WCTV.

Crouch's actions probably saved that person's life.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) called Crouch’s firing "insanity.”

“This man is a hero," NRA Spokesperson Marion Hammer told WCTV. "He stopped an initial crime that would have led to other crimes, and he gets fired. How on earth is that right?"

Crouch’s attorney, Ryan Hobbs, told The Tallahassee Democrat that his client was considering a lawsuit against Academy Sports for wrongful termination.

“Academy has decided to, instead of treating him like the hero he is, they terminated his employment effective immediately because he put his hands on Mr. White,” Hobbs said.

The former store manager and married father of two small children said he has sent the company an email asking them to reconsider his termination.

"Our world is pretty much turned upside down after this," Crouch said. "We had to put our house on the market because of this."

Crouch said he has received several job offers in the wake of the incident, but he said he loved his job at Academy Sports and wanted it back.

“This is not something that happens for Mr. Crouch in his everyday life,” Hobbs told the Tallahassee Democrat. “I think he was thinking there is a man running out of the store with a gun in his hand with his coworkers following from the firearm area screaming ‘Stop that man.’ Something had to be done and he was the one that was going to do it.”

Academy Sports spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook said she could not comment on specific personnel matters.

“While the incident ended without injury, actions inconsistent with corporate policies were taken,” Hasbrook said. “We addressed the matter with the local store and individuals involved.”

Court records showed that White was released from jail on bond on July 6 on a “Supervised Mental Health Pre-Trial Release.”

The court also ordered him to stay away from Academy Sports and Cash America Pawn, WCTV reported.

Comments (27)
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Sandi2
Sandi2

Mr Crouch is a hero and Sports Academy doesn’t deserve an employee like him.

How many lives did Mr Crouch save? Could have been he was the next shook, theater, restaurant etc murdered.

Sports Academy May have their policies but it shouldn’t be “black and white” Think! There are grey areas that must be addressed and the rules subject to change Thanks for saving me money, I WILL NO LONGER SHOP AT SPORTS ACADEMY.

ReserveDepty3431
ReserveDepty3431

Academy can kiss my business goodbye.

TCSO7801
TCSO7801

Dumb ass policy.... "can't touch a customer even to protect others". It was probably instinctive move by manager when other employee shouted stop that man.

LordSeamus
LordSeamus

Here's hoping he gets a better job elsewhere, and that Academy goes belly up ! Boycott time if they don't change their policies .

Hawk3699
Hawk3699

Corporate assholes. Won't be giving any of my business to that lame company. Crouch would be better off somewhere else, seeing how he was treated. Why would you go back to a company that has treated you so badly? I hope the local police department will show its appreciation to this brave, now persecute citizen.

Cstuartsr
Cstuartsr

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. This man lost his job stopping a thug and probably saved a life either in the store or somewhere else and Academy Sports fired him? This needs to copied and pasted to everybody’s social feed. People need to stand up for this manger and demand that they give him his job back. Please copy and share!!

GForce48
GForce48

"Not to touch customers"...White was not a customer he was a SHOPLIFTER! The corporate policy seems to be designed to aid shoplifters. Mr. Couch is a hero and most likely prevented additional and possibly more heinous crimes.

dsmarine
dsmarine

Academy may now be as bad or worse than Dick's. Dumb and Dumber!

Rodsta1990
Rodsta1990

This man stopped a possible active shooter. Screw that job.

Farmgirl1115
Farmgirl1115

While he didn't stop an active shooter, he possibly saved lives. The man followed his natural instincts and should be treated as a hero, not a villain. I don't buy guns from Academy, anyway, but now I won't be shopping for anything else there, either. A THIEF is not the same as a customer. And a loyal employee/hero should be treated better than this!! No more Dick's. Now no more Academy. They don't cater to customers like me anyway.

KCN
KCN

And this guy probably makes just above poverty wages. He is a true HERO in my book! Give him a medal, free tuition to the next Police academy and a job with a respectable PD. In addition, place Academy Sports next to Dicks Sports, Burger King and any other businesses that support criminals over law-abiding, good people on your "no-shop" list. Support those who support common sense.

HdRk2558
HdRk2558

Attention Crooks!! Academy Sports and Outdoors employees are prohibited from touching you at the risk of losing their jobs. Happy stealing!

Sarah batEzequiel
Sarah batEzequiel

I hope academy sports gets flooded with thieves , i wonder how many lives Mr Crouch saved that day, we'll never know, however, he's still a hero and should be honored.

DocRyder
DocRyder

Academy won't get any more of my money. I refuse to support blind stupidity. But then the court just turned him loose. Good grief.

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

Add Academy to the boycott list. Along with Burger King and Starbucks.

ByAnyMeansNecessary
ByAnyMeansNecessary

@Hi_estComnDenomnn Boomers boycotting means nothing nowadays. You people just don't have the numbers anymore.

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

Whose a boomer? I thought we were Millennials?

Besides 65 million people if you don't think can make a difference in USA ask Donald Trump.

76 million baby boomers There were actually a total of 76 million births in the United States from 1946 to 1964, the 19 years usually called the “baby boom.” Of the 76 million baby boomers born, nearly 11 million had died by 2012, leaving some 65.2 million survivors.

There's a lot of them, hence the phrase baby boom.

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

Hey bro did you panic like me when Sailor Moon gang got all tied up in that vine?

flagwaver
flagwaver

Crouch's firing is such an outrage ! These "scared to death of being sued" businesses ought to take another look at their policies about "touching" customers. Bet if a visiting Corporate Big Dog was there and was in harms way they would be begging for that employee to "touch" the criminal! Academy wont get anymore of my business. God bless Dean Crouch & his family. He is a hero in every sense of the word. God bless Blue lIves Matter.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

There should be laws making the store secure it's guns better -- or maybe a law preventing stores from selling completely assembled, operable firearms.

Yell2017
Yell2017

Shame on them. He was not injured and he stopped the bad guy