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 See also Shopkeepers privilege. Privileges for misdemeanor arrest traditionally available at common law recognize no privilege to arrest for ordinary 'shoplifting.' 


Thus a shopkeeper who believed that a customer was shoplifting was placed in an untenable position. Either the shopkeeper allowed the suspect to leave the premises, risking the loss of merchandise, or took the risk of attempting to recapture the chattel by detaining the customer, facing liability for the wrongful detention if the person had not stolen merchandise. As Prosser noted, shoplifting is a major problem, causing losses that range into millions of dollars each year. Kon v. Skaggs Drug Centers, Inc., 115 Ariz. 121, 563 P.2d 920 (App.1977). 


There have been a number of decisions which permit a business person for reasonable cause, to detain a customer for investigation. Prosser at 122. This privilege, however, is narrow; it is confined to what is reasonably necessary for its limited purpose, of enabling the defendant to do what is possible on the spot to discover the facts. There will be liability if the detention is for a length of time beyond that which is reasonably necessary for such a short investigation, or if ...

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