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Hoosier touts new self-defense device as a ‘superhero in your pocket’

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By Aishah Hasnie

AVON, Ind. (Sept 15, 2014)-- A native Hoosier is touting his new pepper spray device as the next generation in self-defense.

Ryan McManus grew up in Avon and is now working in Ohio. Co-founder of Pangaea Services, McManus showed Fox59 a new device called ‘The Defender’ which he said can thwart an attack.

“It contains a camera, flash, siren, and pepper spray, with a 24/7 monitoring service,” explained McManus.

The Defender looks similar to a pepper spray device, but also has a built-in camera and GPS tracking device that connects to your smart phone Bluetooth. If a user is under attack, they can press the red button which releases a pepper spray and takes a picture of the attacker. That photo and the GPS location is immediately sent to a command center which alerts local law enforcement.

“You’re able to identify your attacker and capture their photo which is something that’s really never been capable in a self-defense product before for consumers,” said McManus.

The device has already garnered more than $230,000 on a crowd funding site. But it also has critics.

A spokeswoman from the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence said there are pros and cons. While “it’s better than nothing” and does document the alleged attacker, the organization expressed concerns about the response time and the possibility of a misfire or the device being used against the victim.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center said in part, “There is nothing guaranteed about any of these devices. None are foolproof, and none can be counted on to work against all attackers.”

McManus looks forward to bringing his product to the market and letting users decide.

“When you’re in one of those traumatic situations, you need to be able to be confident that you can use the device with one push of a button.”