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Business aims to give court visitors a place for their phones

A Roanoke startup company hopes to be the solution for frustrated courthouse visitors who are told they cannot bring their cellphones inside.

Cellphone bans can be an inconvenience in Roanoke and larger cities, where office workers often walk to court. When they find out their cellphones are not welcome, they have to trek back to their office to park the phones.

DeAnthony Pierce thinks he has the solution with his locker business, known as PacMül.

He wants to lease his storage lockers to courthouses so visitors can pay a few coins and deposit their phones securely while they attend to court business. Pierce says his is the only company that offers an arrangement of small lockers on a stand tailored specifically for courthouses.

Not everyone is buying the idea.

In Roanoke, where the company is based, the sheriff rejected the locker proposal, citing concerns about explosives and other hazards that can be concealed in or disguised as mobile phones, Pierce said.

Pierce won his first lease for a courthouse locker placement in Culpeper early this year, he said, but a judge at that courthouse “didn’t like the lockers,” he said. He had to remove the equipment.

Pierce pitched his locker solution at a recent meeting of Virginia sheriffs. He’s hoping some will want to provide the convenience for their citizens.

“The problem can be judges in different localities, they object to them,” Pierce said.


  1. Simple solution: courts should abandon the ban on cell phones, and just admonish everyone to turn their ringers off.

  2. Simply allowing phones in but turned off is such a widely accepted practice in all theaters it seems petty for the courts to not allow them inside the building after being turned off. I understand that it used to be thought that they could pose a security threat. However, courthouses are a public forum and anything can be photograph could also be drawn out from memory. The “courthouse safety” reason just rings hollow. (pun intended)

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