A nationwide sporting goods chain store in Tallahassee fired an employee after he tackled a disturbed man allegedly trying to steal a handgun.
32-year old ex-Academy Sports store manager Dean Crouch was relieved of his position after taking down Jason White, who stole a .40-caliber Glock pistol, ammunition and other items from the firearms counter.
Taking White into the store’s office while police were en-route, Crouch reported that white admitted to stealing the firearm and said he wanted to kill people with it.
“He repeatedly said ‘I stole and I admit to it’ and ‘I will steal again when I get out of jail,’” officers wrote in their report, obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat.
Technically, Crouch was within his rights to perform a citizen’s arrest, as theft of a firearm is a third-degree felony in the Sunshine State.
Academy Sports, however, did not see it that way and quickly terminated him.
In response to his firing, Crouch has lawyered up and is suing his former employer.
“This is not something that happens for Mr. Crouch in his everyday life,” lawyer Ryan Hobbs said. “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 did not comment on the matter, noting only that his firing was aligned with corporate policy.
“While the incident ended without injury, actions inconsistent with corporate policies were taken,” she said. “We addressed the matter with the local store and individuals involved.”
Married with a family, Crouch now has to figure out what to do for money, thanks to a seemingly flawed corporate policy that attorney Hobbs thinks should be revisited.
“My instincts tell me they are concerned more about people like Mr. White suing them for being stopped in the course of a theft than they are about rewarding or acknowledging in a positive manner that Mr. Crouch may have saved lives.”
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