It follows reports that a number of masked and armed men were spotted in a blue Renault Laguna car on the Ormeau Road on Thursday morning.
Police believe they were planning an armed robbery in the area when they were disturbed.
It is understood the men made off on foot in the direction of Elgin Street and Delhi Street after abandoning the car (reg YBZ 5390) in Baroda Street at around midday.
A second car was also found abandoned in the same street after it collided with a police vehicle.
Detectives say they are keen to trace the movements of the grey BMW 320 Touring (reg UEZ 8597).
A PSNI spokesman said the man detained by police was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery, possession of a firearm and various motoring offences.
He has since been bailed pending further enquiries.
Police are appealing for anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area or who has any information to contact them.