Cologne Sex-Attack Spurs Spike in Pepper Spray, Non-Lethal Gun in Germany Sales

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A spate of sex assaults, allegedly committed mostly by North African men on New Year's Eve in Cologne, has sparked an "explosion in sales" of pepper spray and non-lethal guns, German officials and an industry chief said.

"We saw a huge spike of sales numbers after January," said Ingo Meinhard, head of the German association for gunsmiths and weapons dealers.

The association expected purchases of "so-called deterrents and defensive small arms" to at least double in 2016 following the Cologne attacks, Meinhard told NBC News.

Authorities are investigating more than 670 criminal complains — almost 350 of them sexual offenses — after hundreds of women were groped and robbed by groups of men outside the main railway station in the western city.

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