FITCHBURG -- A Green Street resident found a handgun in a bag thrown in shrubbery outside his house Friday afternoon, police said.

He had his wife watched over the bag while he went to the police station to report the discovery.

"An individual noticed a bag in the shrubs, looked inside and there was a firearm," said Deputy Chief Paul Bozicas.

It was a .22-caliber Ruger semiautomatic handgun.

The magazine couldn't be removed, so it wasn't immediately clear whether the gun was loaded but given the condition of the gun it may not be in working order, Bozicas said.

Police will check serial numbers and ballistics to determine if it's been stolen or used in any crimes.

"It will be further investigated," he said.