Academy Sports Store Manager Fired for Tackling, Stopping Gun Thief

Dean Crouch was fired from Academy Sports after stopping a would-be gun thief.  He was rewarded for his heroism — by getting the boot.  Now unemployed, he has had to put his house up for sale.  (Photo: WCTV)

A manager of a Tallahassee Academy Sports was fired recently after tackling and detaining a would-be gun thief.

Former manager Dean Crouch recalled the incident in a conversation with news channel WCTV.

“My employee yelled stop that man,” Crouch said. “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.”

Police would arrive and arrest the alleged thief, later identified as Jason White. Apparently Mr. White had also tried to steal a firearm earlier that day from a local pawn shop.

As for Crouch, Academy Sports initially suspended him. Then, a week later, they fired him.

“We are grateful that everyone is safe after this incident and for the quick actions of the Tallahassee Police,” Academy Sports spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook said in a statement to WCTV. “We have policies in place to protect our team members and customers during a robbery. While this incident ended without injuries, actions inconsistent with our corporate policies were taken.”

Crouch, who has had to put his house up for sale, politely asked for his job back. However, Academy Sports refused, once again citing its policy.

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“I loved my job there,” Crouch said. “I knew that if he would have gotten away with another stolen firearm that it was something really bad could have happened in our community and that’s why I felt like I had to stop him.”

The National Rifle Association weighed in on the matter, calling it “insanity.”

Jason White, the alleged gun thief told police, “I will steal again when I get out of jail.”  He was released on bond on July 6.  Time will tell if he keeps his promise.

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

As for Mr. White, well, he was released from jail after making bond on July 6 as part of a “supervised mental health pre-trial release.” This despite the fact that White told an officer that “I will steal again when I get out of jail,” and he would shoot someone and that police would see him on the evening news. “Just you wait and see,” said White, according to the police report.

White has been ordered to stay away from Academy Sports and the pawn shop. Time will tell if he actually obeys the court order.

If there is a silver-lining for Crouch it’s that word of his heroics have spread throughout the community. Several businesses have offered him a job to help him get back on his feet.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Kenny Smith July 18, 2018, 8:25 pm

    I have a list of anti-gunners and people like these at Academy Sports,Dicks Yeti and so on . If any of these people get put on my list I will not now or ever do any kind of business with them at all , and as of right now that list is getting large. If more people will make lists also, and boycott all of these clowns doing bad to our 2nd amendment or to others it will be a good thing for us and a bad one for them !!!!!!!

  • Leighton Cavendish July 17, 2018, 5:23 pm

    Saw another article that said he has been rehired/unfired by Academy.

  • Al July 17, 2018, 12:12 pm

    While firing the poor guy is bad enough, what’s really stunning is the release of a criminal that may or may not be mentally unstable!!!!!!!!
    His statements along with his illegal actions should have had him put into detention at the very least!!

  • Edward July 14, 2018, 9:18 pm

    I don’t care if you’re pro-gun or anti-gun. The firing of the man was wrong. He stopped a person who was stealing a firearm (which is a felony in most states) who actually told police that he “will get a gun and he will shoot somebody, just you wait and see”. He had already attempted to steal a gun from a pawn shop.
    Either way, I would boycott Academy Sports for this if they were in my area

  • Jim C. July 14, 2018, 8:39 pm

    I think we should all stay away from “Academy Sports Outdoors”. Then we won’t have to worry about being shot by a gun thief running for the door. God knows we don’t want to upset him or her by stopping him or her. Let someone get shot by that stolen gun and see how fast Academy changes their tune! Unbelievable!!!!

  • steven rhodes July 14, 2018, 8:32 pm

    I was the Firearms Mgr. at Cabela’s for 5 years before I lost my job for stopping a guy from walking out with 1000 rounds of AR-15 ammo. Best part is I never put my hands on or “tackled” the guy. I simply put my hands on the handles of the two 500 round ammo cans he was trying to walk out with.
    A few months later the Las Vegas shooter, who was a regular customer at that same Cabelas, did the largest single shooting in US history.
    Political Correctness gone crazy…

  • John July 14, 2018, 7:43 pm

    I agree with the boycott! Customers in the states where they do business: (
    alabama
    arkansas
    florida
    georgia
    illinois
    indiana
    kansas
    kentucky
    louisiana
    mississippi
    missouri
    north carolina
    oklahoma
    south carolina
    tennessee
    texas ) show your disapproval by staying away.
    I doubt may criminal types read this, but I wonder . . .do you feel safer now? Do you think you can get away with stealing a gun from Academy now?

  • John Hoglin July 14, 2018, 2:16 pm

    The policy is fine if the thief was stealing a hat, but he was stealing a gun(which last time I checked was a Federal offense). These same Corp leaders would be the first to deplore the deaths from gun violence had he got away with it. Hope he gets a better job with a sane outfit.

  • Ceefour July 14, 2018, 7:10 am

    It is quite apparent that people with intelligence are NOT running that lashup.

  • Chief July 13, 2018, 9:41 pm

    Someone needs to start a gofundme for this fella. Id contribute

  • Rod k Johnson July 13, 2018, 5:54 pm

    You Suck, you would anoughter criminal to have weapons to kill,and do other hand is crimes ,thank to free firearm policy. ND YOU ANTI GUN IDIOTS, BELIEVE MORE GUN VONTROL LAWS ARE NEEDED.HOW ABOUT SOME COMON SENCE POLICES,ENFORCE LAWS already on the books.crimnals DON’T. Buy guns,They Steal them.

  • Gourdhead July 13, 2018, 2:50 pm

    Academy just made my no buy list as well. This is total BS on Academy’s part. How disgusting can these retailers get?

    • John L July 18, 2018, 12:26 am

      Let’s see, Walmart, check. Dick’s, check. Academy, check. Boycott list so far. BassPro/Cabela’s are on double secret probation. I haven’t quite decided whether to take action on their collusion with anti gun Bank of America.

  • Rick July 13, 2018, 2:39 pm

    We all know everyone working management at Dicks Sporting Goods are DICKS now I see DICKS at Academy Sports management.

  • bill July 13, 2018, 1:59 pm

    make public the name of the corporate entities that fired him. load their inboxes with condemnation for firing him.

  • Ronhart July 13, 2018, 1:33 pm

    Maybe it is time to start arming and training select employees to confront these thieves and stop them at the scene of the crime. Communities need to change their laws to exempt these employees from prosecution if stopping a crime by force with a weapon.

    • Blue Dog July 17, 2018, 10:31 am

      The answer to petty thievery is not vigilanteism! If a child are shoplifting a hat from Academy, is that really worth that child’s life? It seems obvious now that a future crime was stopped when this thief was apprehended but as of right now, he is guilty of nothing more than ATTEMPTED theft of a firearm. The really sad thing is that this attempted thief can probably sue Academy and some ambulance-chasing lawyer can probably get him a settlement.

      It might not make sense, but there is solid reasoning behind why Academy fired this manager. Most any retail store probably would have done exactly the same thing. Academy has always been real scared of lawsuits and treats their personnel accordingly. Further, Academy is based in Texas (Katy) and Texas has some rather squirrelly laws about what retailers can and cannot do when dealing with shoplifters – to the point of protecting the shoplifters.

  • William Lynn July 13, 2018, 12:03 pm

    Academy is completely off my list of sporting supplies now. They were a main source for shotgun, clays, and cleaning supplies. Walmart or high priced Cabela’s can fill that void now.

    • BR549 July 13, 2018, 1:31 pm

      Ditto on that one, William.

  • Luke July 13, 2018, 11:46 am

    Here’s a common problem in this cover-your-ass, hypocritical culture:

    “We are grateful that everyone is safe after this incident and for the quick actions of the Tallahassee Police,” Academy Sports spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook said in a statement to WCTV. “We have policies in place to protect our team members and customers during a robbery. While this incident ended without injuries, actions inconsistent with our corporate policies were taken.”

    Every time I hear a hypocritical, generic statement like this it makes me want to slap the hell out of somebody. This woman has absolutely zero concern for Academy employees, aka ‘team members’. If she really gave a shit, she’d be thankful this guy likely prevented multiple murders. She’s just another another lying fool sucking up to her corporate handlers.

    • Martingard July 13, 2018, 1:38 pm

      It’s insane! He is probably responsible for saving the lives of many with his selfless action. He’s a hero in my book and should be with others. I hope he finds a better job very soon. Don’t have any of these stores out here but if they did I certainly wouldn’t shop there.

    • Rocky July 14, 2018, 12:01 pm

      Dear Academy Sports…

      – Your Corporate Policy SUCKS!

      – Your loyalty to employees and community, obviously doesn’t begin to hold a candle to your employees’ loyalty to Academy Sports and community.

      – Your spokesperson is an imbecile and should have recognized the quick actions of your Manager, and members of your team, rather than those of the Tallahassee Police. Since obviously the Manager, and members of your team stopped this individual and held him until the Tallahassee Police arrived.

      – Your dismissal of the Manager for stopping a thief from leaving the store with a gun stolen from that store, are incomprehensible. There is no telling how much crime he prevented in that community. He should have received a bonus, he should have received a raise, he should have received a letter of commendation.

      It would appear you need to take the grade school children and little girls out of your corporate offices and install someone with balls!

  • Dorothea Ledford July 13, 2018, 11:23 am

    They just opened a new Academy is our town and everybody was so excited and then this comes out. I am so disappointed with their rulings on this situation. I’ll be buying my ammo and supplies at another store. Just spent $150. a few weeks ago but that will be it unless changes are made.

  • Vaughn Winslett July 13, 2018, 11:11 am

    Boycott Academy.

  • SuperG July 13, 2018, 10:46 am

    What is wrong with corporate America? This is insane and should not be tolerated. The manager saved lives, as if the thief had gotten bullets, then havoc would have ensued. The manager should be employee of the month, not persona nongrata.

  • Franklin2135 July 13, 2018, 10:39 am

    Some WalMart and K-Mart stores have similar policies – do not pursue/confront, stay safe. There are arguments for such a policy, including some really stupid worker compensation laws and equally stupid personal injury case rulings. This is just a little different, and I think a different policy is needed when you sell firearms – do not let a stolen gun get out the door.

  • SuperG July 13, 2018, 10:22 am

    What is wrong with corporate America? This is insane and should not be tolerated. The manager saved lives, as if the thief had gotten bullets, then havoc would have ensued. The manager should be employee of the month, no persona nongrata. You can bet Academy will never see one of my dollars.

  • Reticent Rogue July 13, 2018, 9:54 am

    Academy has the same policy about all shop lifting and code Adam incidents. No physical confrontation. Period. Associates are instructed not to interfere or confront, just follow the person to his car and get the license number for the police. Can you imagine having to tell a parent that you watched her child being abducted and did nothing; or having to testify in court at a murder trial you could have prevented? This is how retailers sever liability: secretly, they hope you will do the right thing so they cannot be sued by victims because of policy and openly they have the wherewithal to fire you and sever any responsibility for your actions to protect them from the perpetrator. It’s a win-win for Academy, as most irresponsible policies are.

  • joefoam July 13, 2018, 9:35 am

    I get the liability issue, but damn, lets put the entire community at risk from this felon for company policy? The punishment was a little harsh for a guy protecting his employers inventory and being a hero.

  • Mike July 13, 2018, 8:47 am

    I stopped buying from Academy sports a few years ago when they refused to accept back or refund my money for an obviously defective item I was gifted at Christmas. They told me it would have to be returned to the manufacturer and, as it was a fairly large item that would be very costly to return, I did not think that was the very fair policy. Not only was it their policy, they were very rude about me even having the gumption to ask them to refund my money. Just one more reason to avoid Academy.

  • 2ASuperfan July 13, 2018, 8:43 am

    Well thank God the NRA “commented”! What would we do without the NRA backing us with comments? How about get off your ass and start really trying to help!

  • Jim Gibson July 13, 2018, 8:28 am

    A while ago I bought a chain saw at Lowes. A store employee had to retrieve the model I wanted from the back. I commented about it not being displayed and was told that it was for security, that chain saws were a major problem in terms of being shop lifted. I asked “how do you sneak out of the store with a chain saw?” The guy told me, people “just walk out the door with them and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Only law enforcement is allowed to physically interfere .” I can understand a store’s reluctance to risk injury to employees and customers, but this sort of thing is nuts.

  • Dave July 13, 2018, 8:25 am

    I expect to see Academy sales dropping dramatically in the very near future. While they may have a ‘no apprehend’ policy, I don’t think a firing was warranted! Goodbye, soon to be replaced with ‘Dollar Tree’, lol!

  • stephen stewart July 13, 2018, 8:23 am

    I Facebooked these ASSHOLES (Academy) and urged them to rehire this HERO! If all gun owners raise enough hell on social media they may just change their minds. Please help this guy out!!!!

  • Peter Schep July 13, 2018, 7:40 am

    I am (now was) a frequent flyer at Academy. You vote with your dollars. Most of the stuff I buy at Academy can be found elesewhere.

  • Frank S. July 13, 2018, 7:40 am

    I’m sure the company policy if for employees to not risk themselves to stop a would-be thief. If he had been hurt tackling the gun thief Academy could have been sued (by the employee). So the general policy is valid. In this case, however, Academy surely screwed up. Suspending him for a week without pay for violating a company policy seems like a valid punishment. But since the results were “good”, and could have led to someone getting hurt had he NOT intervened, they should have stopped at that. Someone wasn’t considering the public back-lash of firing someone who appeared to be a hero. They don’t want to encourage heroics as it could put them in a situation to be sued, but in this case I’d have chewed him out for doing something that could have got him hurt, suspended him for a few days, and put him back on the floor. You can be proud of someone for doing something that could be considered “stupid” at the time…

    • Mike V July 13, 2018, 10:38 am

      I have to disagree.

      If he had been hurt while violating company policy, why would they then be resposible?

      I don’t think any punishment is warranted, I fail to see how chewing him out and suspending him is fair.

      Companies look the other way all the time on all sorts of things, they couldn’t figure out how to do that here?

  • Rick Bylo July 13, 2018, 6:26 am

    There are exceptions to every rule. If this stolen weapon would have been involved in another mass shooting and this was prevented by the managers actions, then is it Academy’s opinion that strict adherence to policy is better then preventing mass shootings? Where is the sense? If this hero manager doesn’t get his job back, with backpay, I will definitely put Academy on my s do not shop there list. He put his life at risk to prevent such a catastrophe from happening. Academy should have rewarded him for his courage. I feel sorry for his family for what they are now going thru. We need more people like this manager. The person that should have lost their job is the one that terminated him.

  • trevor_phillips July 13, 2018, 6:17 am

    Just another rabid dog that needs to be put down.

  • Zupglick July 13, 2018, 4:15 am

    Only thing dumber than upper-management writing company policy is politicians writing laws.

  • Bobs your uncle July 13, 2018, 12:12 am

    So, whats the message? everything’s free at Academy?

  • KEITH July 12, 2018, 4:15 pm

    Well, I guess Academy can join Dick’s on my no shopping list!

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