Travel Pocket thwarts pickpockets

Wellspring Ideas LLC
Menomonee Falls
Innovation: Travel Pocket

Increasingly, identity thieves are engaging in a form of electronic identity theft in which a thief scans a person’s purse or wallet and nabs the financial information contained inside.

Leo Vitangcol and Dave Clark wanted to prevent that from happening to travelers, so they invented Travel Pocket.

The innovation is a pocket worn like a holster. It has thick, tear and cut-resistant nylon straps around both shoulders. There’s also an additional strap that can be fastened around a belt.

“For anybody to physically take the pouch from you, they have to cut it in three different places,” Vitangcol said.

The pouch is located on the inside of one arm and has both a slot with a hook and loop closure and a slot without a hook and loop closure. It has an inner shell made of RFID blocking material that prevents the scanning of credit cards and an outer nylon shell.

“It’s the same material that the NSA, the CIA, when they want to build a facility that won’t leak radio or that people can’t eavesdrop into, this is what they use,” Clark said.

It can be easily hidden under a jacket or sweater, or worn over lighter clothing. An advantage over other travel safety pouches is the fact that the user doesn’t have to reach inside his or her clothing to access cards or cash, he said.

Travel Pocket by Wellspring Ideas.

Another advantage, Clark said, is the fact that the device avoids discomfort or sciatic nerve issues that can be caused by storing a wallet in the back pocket.

The Travel Pocket, which retails for $49.95, has been on the market for about two months and has gotten a warm reception at trade shows, he said. It’s sold through the company’s website, on eBay, and at a few travel stores.

Travel Pocket is manufactured in Cleveland and packaged and shipped from the Menomonee Falls headquarters of the pair’s company, Wellspring Ideas LLC. They plan to set up manufacturing operations locally and bring more of their ideas to market through Wellspring in the future.

Frequent travelers, they came up with the idea after a couple of unfortunate travel experiences.

Vitangcol was told to leave his passport in a hotel safe while traveling in Spain, because the tour guide said, “The best pickpockets in town are actually out there waiting for you and you will be bumping into them.”

And Clark’s wife Donna had her credit card information stolen from inside her purse using a scanning device while she was in Las Vegas.

Vitangcol and Clark met a couple of years ago through a mutual friend and a partnership was formed. Since Clark founded Clarcorp Industrial Sales in Waukesha 34 years ago, he had extensive marketing and business expertise to offer. Vitangcol is the inventor, with an engineering background, who works as an interpreter at county courts and hospitals.

“We started talking about this and I gave Leo some things he needed to do, some tasks and objectives, and a couple of days later he comes back with a hand-sewn prototype,” Clark said. “Leo is a wonderful student. When I would tell him something, he understood the concept very rapidly. He would grasp onto the image and then he would basically make it happen, make it work.”

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