Police: Pair’s robbery at mall foiled by pistol-packing mark

Two Columbia men tried to rob a couple at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Park City Mall, but police said the heist was thwarted when one of the victims pulled a pistol of his own.

Randy Howard, 19, and Tyler Harrison, 21, were arrested on charges of robbery and conspiracy shortly after the incident Thursday afternoon, Lancaster police said in a news release.

A 25-year-old city man and his girlfriend, a 22-year-old Newmanstown woman, told officers they were at their car when Howard asked for a cigarette lighter.

When the man gave Howard his lighter, Harrison pointed a handgun at the man and demanded his possessions, police said.

The man, who has a concealed carry permit, retrieved his own handgun from his vehicle and pointed it at Harrison, and both suspects fled on foot.

The man told officer he started to run after them, but stopped after a few feet and called 911.

A responding police officer saw Harrison and Howard running behind a nearby restaurant and detained them. Both were identified by the victims, and Howard still had the man’s lighter, police said.

The handgun used in the robbery was not located.

Harrison and Howard were committed to Lancaster County Prison on $250,000 bail.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled Nov. 5.

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