A shopper found a handgun in a potted plant outside the Howe Road entrance to Dillard's Saturday evening, about the same time someone else reported a suspicious man in the SouthPark Mall parking lot.
The man was discovered hiding under an SUV and arrested on an outstanding felony warrant for receiving stolen property.
Police said the man denied owning the .22-cal. handgun, even though he was found to have bullets of that same caliber in his pocket.
"He told us he didn't know why he had bullets in his pocket," Detective Lt. John Janowski said.
Reports show someone called police about 5:30 p.m. to report finding the gun; about the same time, someone else reported seeing a man walking around the mall parking lot, looking into cars.
Officers checked the lot and found the man hiding under a vehicle. Police determined he was wanted by Cleveland Heights.
He was arrested on the warrant and turned over to police in that city.
Police here are investigating whether that he is also the person who brought the gun to the mall.