A manager at an Academy Sports store in Tallahassee, Florida who stopped a man from stealing a .40 caliber pistol and a backpack filled with ammunition has been fired because his actions violated the company's policy. Dean Crouch was working when Jason White walked in an asked to see a handgun. An employee behind the counter handed White the gun and he bolted for the door.
Crouch heard the commotion, tackled White before he could get outside and detained him until police arrived. White admitted to trying to steal the gun and a backpack, which contained five boxes of ammunition and two magazines.
Police announced White's arrest in a Facebook post and said they were also able to connect him to a robbery at a pawn shop earlier in the day. White told police he stole the gun because his family was being threatened and promised that he "will steal again" when he is released from prison.
Crouch was suspended by Academy Sports following the incident and after a month-long investigation, he was terminated for violating a company policy that prohibits employees from making contact with customers.
Crouch hired attorney Ryan Hobbs and is considering a lawsuit for wrongful termination.
“Academy has decided to, instead of treating him like a hero he is, they terminated his employment effective immediately because he put his hands on Mr. White,” Hobbs told the Tallahassee Democrat.
Academy Sports spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook confirmed that Crouch was fired because his actions were "inconsistent with corporate policies" and that the company "addressed the matter with the local store and individuals involved."
Hobbs explained that he believes the company's policy is meant to protect it against lawsuits.
“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.”