Early on, the position in the United States mirrored that of England and Wales: a merchant could only legally detain a suspected shoplifter for investigation if that suspect was, in fact, guilty of the crime. No matter how reasonable the merchant’s suspicion may have been, only a subsequent conviction would protect the merchant from civil liability to the person detained: Pandjiris v. Hartman, 196 Mo. 539, 94 S.W. 270, 272 (1906).
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