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Academy Sports is at it again. First pulling black rifles from the shelves, now the Tallahassee Democrat is reporting that Dean Crouch, an Academy Sports manager who tackled a fleeing gun thief, has been fired.

Mind. Blown.

While I understand many companies have a hands-off policy when it comes to shoplifters, this particular case was a bit out of the norm. It isn’t like the guy was stealing shoes or a volleyball.

How it Went Down

According to, a man now identified as Jason White, 24, stole two guns from a Cash America Pawn on June 29th. Apparently, he asked to see a .380 and a .45 ACP pistol. White then picked both pistols up and ran out the door without paying for them (no indication if he filled out a 4473 …. ) and fled in a silver Toyota Corolla.

Four hours later White walked into the Academy Sports and asked to see a .40 caliber GLOCK, then decided to attempt to book it out the door with a backpack, ammunition, and the GLOCK.

That was about the time that manager Dean Crouch comes into our story. According to court records, Crouch saw the transaction at the counter and tackled the would-be thief with the help of another employee whose employment status is unknown.

What did they recover? A stolen backpack, five boxes of .40 caliber ammunition, two magazines for the GLOCK, and the handgun that White attempted to abscond with.

Store employees detained White in the store’s office until police arrived. Court records state that White admitted to stealing the gun and threatened to shoot people with it while in the office. White claimed that an unknown person was threatening him and his family.

He intended to use the gun to “kill him.”

Officers wrote, “He repeatedly said ‘I stole and I admit to it’ and ‘I will steal again when I get out of jail,'”

The Fallout

Crouch’s attorney says that Academy placed him on suspension after the incident, citing a company policy that prohibits employees from laying their hands on customers inside the store.

Again, I reiterate, it was a freakin’ gun.

Fast forward to July 10th and Crouch was informed by his now-former employer that they decided to fire him for stopping the bad guy from escaping with the gun. Crouch is reportedly considering filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination according to his attorney.

Moral of the Story

Don’t be the guy who tackles a gun thief if you want to keep your job at a national sporting goods store chain.

Do be that guy if you want to do the right thing.

Read the full story over at the Tallahassee Democrat.

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  1. The employee should not only sue for wrongful termination, but should also sue Academy for “failure to provide a safe work environment”. Hit ’em where it hurts…

    • How was his termination wrongful? What could they have done to make his workplace any safer? He put his own neck on the line placing himself in danger and breaking a policy that he agreed to follow as do all associates at major retailers. Good guy, predictable outcome. I wish him the best.

      • It wasn’t a customer he tackled. Customers engage in lawful commerce. This dude had no intention of paying for the merchandise he had in his possession.

        • I agree! +2 million thumbs up! Policy or no policy. It would have been like letting go a drunk driver, or a would be arsonist…I’m aware of “Big Box ” retail store policies. I’m also aware that they can conceal “wrong doing” by the employer! If I was a lesser employee and Not L. Prev. Or a Member of Management. I’d probably wouldn’t get involved. Since the employer really doesn’t give a SH!t about THEIR employees. Also, most “Big Box” retailer’s usually have “policies” disarming, or next to eliminating self-defense…So, no…I wouldn’t do it for the employer. Since, THEY are insured, heavily shielded against liability and stolen goods…Plus, it’s just a tax-write off too THEM…

      • Coming from a do-what-you-want and we-dont-need-laws-where-private-contracts-will-do libertarian, I agree with you.

        But, here’s a man, stealing a firearm. He’s not a good guy. He’s not going to go shoot cans. He’s going to shoot someone with that thing. Or threaten to shoot them. Maybe burglary, maybe rape, maybe murder. Maybe he’ll just trade it for some meth to someone else who will do those things, but there is no good, honorable future for that firearm – only someone else down the line getting hurt unless someone takes the opportunity now.

        I think the far worst part of this is that “I stole it, I’ll steal again when I get out of jail” bit. Like, just maybe, that guy shouldn’t have the opportunity again.

        • Yes, I agree that is the worst part: “Yes, I did it. I’ll do it again at the earliest opportunity”.

      • I am not familiar with Florida employment law, but here in Virginia, you are right, he would not have a wrongful termination case because Virginia is an “at will” work state, meaning the employer can do whatever it wants as long as they don’t break equal opportunity/AWD laws. They can fire you for any and all reasons, including no reason at all. Is Florida an “at will” work state? I don’t really care… But, the safe work environment part however…
        A case can be made that Academy did fail. Firstly, they put in a policy that restricts employees from being able to stop, defend against, and/or prevent an outside person from doing harm to the employees or other customers, while also not providing a common use solution for such (security guards, loss prevention officers, allowing CCW, etc.). Furthermore, they encouraged such criminal elements by selling high value crime target items (guns/ammo) while not providing such measures mentioned before; essentially creating a “soft target” environment inviting to criminals. They made themselves higher risk, while not providing any solution for such.
        But I’m not a lawyer, so….

        • “At-will” is a little bit of a joke in the states that have it. Even in those states you STILL cannot fire someone for whatever you want, taking an extreme example, you cannot fire someone for being a certain ethnicity or gender. Sorry. Can’t do it.

          Same with having a “no-sue” clause in your contract at termination. Sue them anyways:

          Plaintiff: “im sueing you.”
          Defendent: “You cant, says right here you cant.”
          Judge: “You’re getting sued. Take a seat.”

          its purpose is to strong arm and intimidate employees.

        • “At will” is not the issue. These clauses preventing regular sales employees from intervening in shoplifting are common, have all been upheld by the courts, and you can be fired for violating it in ANY state.

          Now Academy maybe should have not fired this employee but they absolutely can in any state.

          These box stores tend to have a separate group of employees trained in laws and exigencies of detaining people. In my city we had a store employee break a 16 year old’s neck permanently paralyzing him for grabbing a bag of chips (with no assault like Michael brown committed). That resulted a a multi-million dollar civil suit.

          There are also quite a few that involve completely false detention, which are slam dunk civil suits as well.

          A business has every right to have a written policy saying standard employees cannot intervene and firing ones that do.

        • At Will = You don’t have to continue letting them in the building any more.

          It doesn’t always mean you can stop paying them. KY is an At Will state. But odds are, whenever I fire someone, I’ll be getting a notice from the KY Labor Cabinet about their case.

          I don’t have to re-hire the bum but they still want to get paid.

      • That policy was put in place to protect Academy from lawsuits.

        What’s the greater lawsuit risk here, an employee tackling a criminal holding a gun, or an employee handing a gun to a criminal and watching him leave the store with it?

        It would seem that Crouch made the correct choice here.
        And Academy suspended him for a week before terminating him, so they made their choice very deliberately.

      • If he had waited until the robber left the store, the robber may have loaded the gun and killed people in the store. There was no way to know when and where the robber intended to use the gun other than the one person he mentioned.

    • Good luck trying that in Florida. I’d bet he wasn’t fired “For” that. He was fired “without cause”. That’s how you get fired here.

      Just sayin’.

      He’ll have a better job in a week.

    • So get this. The piece of trash theif was let out on $5000. Bail. Gee thanks to liberal judges in Leon county. I’ll never stop foot in academy again. Like someone said it wasn’t shoes but a GUN. He said he was going to shoot someone. Maybe if he had , academy would have fired him for not stopping him.

  2. As a manager in a retail establishment I can tell you that 100% of the time you will get fired for tackling a thief regardless of the situation, this includes loss prevention associates at many retailers. It is a safety and liability issue that no company will take on anymore. Yes, it’s a gun and that’s serious, but that is a policy you just don’t fight. The guy knew he was going to lose his job when he did it, if he didn’t he was an idiot, and he chose to do the right thing anyway. Good guy no doubt but I’m neither surprised or really outraged that Academy fired him as it makes them no more cowardly than almost every other major retailer out there.

    • Unfortunately, you’re right…
      There is no room for nuance in such a policy: if someone is stealing something, be it a gun or a pair of shoes – you let them go, follow them outside if it seems safe to do so, and document as complete of a description as you can for the police (what they looked like, what clothing, type of getaway car, license plate, etc) and let the authorities handle it and the risks.
      Exactly every retailer I ever worked for had the same policy. The only time an employee had a defense for so much as lifting a finger to a customer was in cases of direct self-defense.
      Pity that Academy manager… I don’t blame Academy for their decision but it sucks all the same… hope this guy lands on his feet elsewhere soon.

      • I totally blame Academy. Their policy is a logical response to powerful incentives…which makes it understandable, but does not make it right.

        If you don’t want to blame Academy, then I guess we can go up the chain to the corporate-socialist lawfare system that requires this kind of perverted, anti-human risk assessment.

        • Where policy rules over reality. Like Socialism where ideology rules over reality.

        • Logic has been lost in this country.
          Academy could have made an exception in this case citing the stolen gun and ammo.
          Suspend the employees with pay and require retraining. That would have been the right thing to do.

        • The right thing to do would have been to hold a press conference about how their manager (and by extension, they themselves) stopped a gun thief and likely murders committed by said thief, or scum to whom he would have illegally trafficed the stolen guns. Choke back the BS policy, especially because a gun thief is not a patron/customer. They had an opportunity to look good for the left and the right, instead they chose a side, the wrong side. They are dead to me now.

    • I unironically agree, you agree to your employers terms when you take the job. Let’s be 100% honest about this, that was Academy’s money that was walking away. One more gun in a sea of them doesn’t make a difference, if we believed that it would we would believe in “buy backs.” We have police for a reason, we have CCWs and use of physical force to protect ourselves from danger. This person acted, albeit bravely and justly, when his life wasn’t in danger knowing his companies policies. He pays the price, there is no story here. A company cannot make exceptions because if they do and the next guy gets hurt and or killed it’s on them. Any use of personal will can and probably will be used against you while you’re on the companies time.

      • One more gun ‘on the street’ may not make much difference, but one less criminal does. Kudos to the employee who risked his life and lost his job to prevent it.

        • Bingo! Corporate policy can eat it. This man took action to protect his home town from a gun thief and potential murderer(s). Corporate doesn’t care in the least for where you live, only about the bottom line. Even so, I really can’t fathom how they thought this was the correct course of action.

    • There is no bowing. There is just simply agreeing, as when he accepted the offer of employment under that company’s policies and that state’s laws, or disagreeing and moving on.

  3. No Academy stores anywhere near me. Typical big box BS…shop your LGS and boycott Academy. All my LGS’s would tackle(and shoot!) a mf’er who did this. Give this man a job-and $!!!

  4. I would have done the same thing. Fired for it? Fine. I just probably saved someone’s life.
    Someone will hire him I’m sure.

    • Totally agree. Policy or not, especially in retrospect that the guy would have had 3 guns, multiple magazines, hundreds of rounds of ammo and a clear lack of respect for the law, one can surmise in no uncertain terms lives were saved by the actions of the manager. My bet is he will get many job offers from companies that value moral character.

  5. Reminds me of pizza shops that require employees to cooperate with criminals, no matter what the criminals do to them. Domino’s and Pizza Hut come to mind, but they’re not the only ones. Domino’s fired a karate expert in the 1980s for refusing to hand his money and car keys to an unarmed robber. I don’t buy anything from Domino’s or Pizza Hut, nor will I eat it if somebody else pays.

  6. Looks like I found a new way to support my gun habit….just walk out with them from Academy. ….who knew?

  7. At least he’s alive to get another job. Probably find a better one.
    Glad to see Academy Sports (along with the rest of the big box stores) is getting bad publicity. Those who make corporate policy decisions have never set foot behind a retail counter.

  8. He ceased to be a customer when he decided to make off with the gat.
    Too bad he didn’t pull one out on the cops, would have prevented future crimes he promised. No one would miss his face on the street.

  9. Academy Sports sucks. Don’t shop there. Spend your money at a real gun shop. Dick’s , more Dick’s like stores. They should be sued for being ignorant.

    • The bad thing is Academy sells a lot of ammo like 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 5.45×39, .450 SOCOM, 300BLK for fairly low prices compared to many LGS which sometimes don’t even know what a Creedmoor is. I can get sub MOA 6.5 hunting ammo from Academy for right around $17/box. Online I can get it cheaper if I wanted to stockpile it and pay for hazmat and shipping. I don’t stockpile those rounds, so I don’t want to buy in bulk.

    • They also sell powder and other reloading components at a much better price vs the only LGS in town that sells powder. 34 dollars vs 26 for a pound of CFE 223 or IMR 4064.

  10. I have yet to see an Academy that doesn’t sell EBR’s. I know there was a big hubbub a few times over the past few years, but every time I go there(multiple states and cities), they have ARs, AKs, and even a few CIA CETME .308s.

    Now, for this story, I guess Academy wants to alienate a portion of their shoppers like Dick’s did. This guy kept three guns and ammo from ending up in the hands of criminals. He should be applauded for preventing that from happening. I hope someone offers this guy a job. I would take an employee that can take decisive action and isn’t a spineless simp any day over what normally gets passed as managers in todays retail environment.

  11. I would consider this stopping a mass shooting. Additionally, what if this guy decided to load his guns in the parking lot and come back in to really rob the store and/or kill as many as he could? I would gladly lose a job over that. Especially if I was unarmed.

  12. Academy has a right to set their own policies. You know what we have a right to do? Never spend another dime in their stores, and let their corporate HQ know in no uncertain terms that’s what our intentions are.

    Someone steals a hat or a shirt, sure, it’s not worth a physical confrontation. But that’s not the case here; he very well could have stopped (or at least delayed) a crime from being committed.

  13. These emasculated store owner’s of the twisted sisters group hate it when a real man steps up and does for himself! Store owners gotta be Democrat for getting their panties in a bunch, bet they support illegal Aliens as long as they are not in their backyard

    • Not everything is about being the manliest guy in the world. Some decisions are made from a logical business minded point of view.

      • I agree that it is not logical to face a lawsuit over a stolen pair of shoes. I do wonder what the liability award would be after a gun stolen from Academy was used in a shooting, especially if someone was wounded or killed. I’m guessing it could easily be in the millions.

        • Maybe if there’s negligence, however if they’re doing the industry standard there shouldn’t be any grounds for a lawsuit.

        • I don’t think “a person is responsible for the use of a weapon after it was stolen from them” is a place you want to go.

        • They could potentially be held liable if a lawyer could prove that the non-intervention policy enabled the gun to be stolen. The ATF may regard the non-intervention policy as a failure to secure firearms since thieves can potentially steal guns without interference due to policy. Assuming the ATF considers their firearms as unsecured they may revoke the FFL license.

        • If they fail to secure their guns from theft they could potentially be held liable for crimes committed with their unsecured firearms.

  14. He will lose. Florida is an at-will employment state, meaning your employment can be terminated for any reason or even no reason; providing that the reason isn’t an illegal reason like religion, age, sex, marital status, etc. However, on a state by state level, even at-will states do recognize one to three of the three major exceptions to their own at-will doctrine (public policy exception, good faith/fair dealing exception, and implied contract exception.)

    Unfortunately, Florida is not only an at-will state, but they are one of only three states that does not even recognize any of the three major exceptions to the at-will doctrine.

    Basically, this guy is screwed. Best outcome he can hope for is if Academy offers a settlement to avoid the bad press. Legally, though, Academy wins this with a dismissal without it ever going to trial.

    • Nailed it. I can fire people here in Florida at anytime I want.

      This is a real conversation:

      Me: “Bill I want to discuss your employment”
      Bill: “OK”
      Me: “I’m terminating your employment. I’ll walk you out and we’ll pack up your desk. We’ll send your things to you unless you have any medicines or something like that. Tell me what and I’ll have someone bring it to you now.”


  15. The city should be giving him a medal for heroism! I’ll bet some enterprising person will offer him a job at a higher pay rate in the near future!

    Off topic: 12 gauge Gatling gun on Google feed. Epic!

    • “unless you are a Democrat”.

      Is that a reference to the Dems’ deliberate conflation of the terms ‘alien’ and ‘immigrant’?

    • The moral of the story is: Never put your life on the line or have your bosses back at these places…cause they surely do Not Have yours.

  16. He didn’t follow orders instead he did what was right. Apparently the educational system failed with this one. He needs to be sent to re-education to make sure he just follows orders and does his job. Can’t have Americans thinking they can be vigilante heroes stopping crime without being sanctioned by the government to do so.

  17. I think the ATF should revoke their FFL since they don’t care if people with criminal intent steal their inventory.

  18. My store has the same policy. I think that most stores do. Shoplifters, even gun thieves, can’t be touched by the sales floor staff. We observe and report, and that’s it.

    Y’know, I’m fine with scvmbags cleaning out my store, no matter what they steal. Corporate America steals from its employees, shoplifters steal from corporate America, it’s all good.

  19. Sucky as it is, the company MUST enforce this policy for insurance reasons.

    All they care about is CYA.

    I’m sure this guy has more job offers than he knows what to do with right now, so in the end nobody is hurt.

    • Actually America as a whole is hurt by the firing of this man because it makes everyone not want to get involved.

      This type of “policy” has ruined China’s society. Chinese won’t help you if you are being savagely beaten or killed, they will just keep it moving or film. People don’t want to get involved because they don’t want to get sued or blamed for the situation. So, society no longer has a sense of duty to protect or provide aid to those that need it.

      America is quickly becoming like that. They rather stream the situation than help. When cops finally come they don’t want to talk. Some people won’t even help you when you been in an accident.

      It’s “worry about me, not the community.”

  20. Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes.

    If my company tells me they care so little about inventory I should do nothing if someone tries to run out the door with it, WTF would do anything otherwise?

    • You would let a man steal a gun that he said he was going to use to murder someone?

      You would let a teen steal a gun that he is going to use to kill a bunch of kids at a school?

      • Many of us deal with situations that go against policy to do what’s right. I gotta look at myself so I do what’s right. I just don’t cry like a biotch when it done. I just moved on.

  21. I don’t necessarily disagree with the policy, as it exists solely to indemnify the company from legal repercussions, though I believe Academy should have made an exception in this case based on the circumstances. I blame the need for such policies on the dinosaur judicial system that disdains a business’ right to stop property theft versus the crook’s right to abscond unmolested with said property.

  22. A store shouldn’t be selling firearms if it’s going to let them walk out the door. It’s like they’re purposefully trying to get guns in the hands of criminals with these policies.

  23. Tired of all the PC BS! If someone is steeling you should be able to stop them. Can’t stand the idea that the BAD GUYS have more rights than the GOOD GUYS.

  24. What says the guy wouldn’t have gone loaded those guns and came back into the store shooting?
    I understand the “no hands on policy”. I used to be a Loss Prevention Manager for a large retailer. Right before I quit they went to this policy.
    If the public finds out about this though, I believe it would be like putting up a sign saying “take what you want. no consequences”! We all end up paying for this!

    The manager should get a promotion!

  25. I read somewhere that termination on violation of public policy is wrongful termination so by firing him for stopping the beginning of a felonious crime spree they likely violated public policy namely the right to self defense as well as the right to effect a citizens arrest. Therefore their policy endangers public safety since it coerces employees to allow crime sprees to occur. Perhaps a law that holds stores criminally liable and civilly liable if their guns are stolen due to their non-intervention policies. Additionally an added portion of such a law should require wrongful termination cases to automatically find in favor of the employee if the dismissal was due to intervening with a theft of a gun and/or ammo.

  26. Too bad he didn’t just let him go…so he can just load the gun out in the parking lot and come back in and shoot up the place…just when the ceo was coming in to do an inspection…

  27. Academy must be like Dick’s. They want to loose all the business they had from gun & ammo buyers. I know I will not purchase anything from them again. Damn I have stopped doing any business with lots of places for their STUPID ASSANINE rules. Academy, Dicks, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, etc. – UP YOURS. Damn before long I will be rich from not spending my money with these pricks. I will just stash it away for my own good.

    I hope this man can sue the shit out of Academy. They deserve it. He apparently was not a valued employee for protecting the stores interest. Well Academy you ASSHOLES just lost a loyal valuable employee.

  28. The company should give him a raise and a medal for stoping the felon from killing people in the store and else ware.,I think iwill have second thoughts about buying anything again in Acadamy Sports.

  29. SUE!SUE! SUE! I live in Texas and I had a case like this and they settled out of court…I say F… Y.. to ACADEMY. Will be taking my business else were. Their prices have gone up so much that I started just going to Cabelas anyway.


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