When a shoplifter stole a handgun last week at Tallahassee’s Academy Sports + Outdoors in Florida and was fleeing the store – and also threatening to shoot people – the store manager was able to catch the thief and tackle him to the ground.
However, Dean Crouch, 32, this week lost his job over taking down the would-be burglar who stole the gun and was making threats to harm people.
Crouch heard a commotion from employees as the suspect, Jason White, tried to flee the store with a .40-caliber pistol, after asking to see the gun at the firearms counter.
Court records said that Crouch saw the scene unfolding and he, along with another employee, tackled White at the exit doors and took him into the office to wait for police, USA Today reported on Wednesday.
They were able to recover the gun, a stolen backpack, five boxes of ammunition and two magazines for the Glock.
White admitted to stealing the gun and threatening to shoot people with it.
Sporting goods store manager fired after tackling gun theft suspect. https://t.co/10b1mwGsfp
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 11, 2018
“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.
Tallahassee Police said that just hours before White was arrested, he stole two handguns from Cash America Pawn on South Adams Street.
Crouch’s attorney Ryan Hobbs said: “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 his client is considering a lawsuit for wrongful termination. The way he sees it, Crouch may have saved lives by stopping White.
Hobbs said: “This is not something that happens for Mr. Crouch in his everyday life. 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 or policies but did say: “While the incident ended without injury, actions inconsistent with corporate policies were taken. We addressed the matter with the local store and individuals involved.”
Hobbs said maybe the corporate policy should be revisited.
Crouch, who worked at the store for more than two years, is married with a family.