Authorities launched a search for an armed robbery suspect late Friday afternoon near the Mt. Holly Flying J Travel Plaza after a man reported seeing a gun on another man who lured him into a gambling game behind the store.
The York County Sheriff's Office says the incident was an "armed robbery by intimidation" because the suspect never pointed the gun or intentionally showed the man his weapon.
Friday's incident led Mt. Holly Elementary School officials to place the school on lockdown for about 45 minutes. The lockdown was lifted shortly after, around 3:45 p.m.
Only students in the afterschool "Challenger" program were inside Mt. Holly at the time.
The man told police he was approached by two men asking for help, said Trent Faris, sheriff's office spokesman.
Once behind the Flying J, the man encountered a "card scam game" and was told to join in, Faris said.
At first he said "no" but then he saw one of the men had a gun, he said.
He decided to play the card game and he lost an undisclosed amount of money, the man told authorities.
One of the suspects then coaxed the man to use a nearby ATM to withdraw more money, he said.
The man lost that money in the card game too, Faris said.
The sheriff's office deployed a K-9 unit but did not find a suspect.
By 4:20 p.m., the search was finished.
Authorities did not advise the school to go on lock down, Faris said, but a "concerned citizen" called the school once police activity started.
Anna Douglas 803-329-4068