GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A gun laid out in the open, waiting for anyone, maybe a child to pick it up. A quick-thinking neighbor might have prevented a tragedy in a Greensboro neighborhood by finding it and turning it over to police.
Tom Brown has lived on Westminster Drive in Greensboro for 38 years. He was shocked when he learned a neighbor found a handgun near Brown Bark Park on Monday.
"Not in my neighborhood," he said.
Peggy Koppel lives around the corner from where it was found.
"It was scary in a way, because a lot of people use that park," she said. "A lot of parents stroll their kids. I walk the dogs there all the time."
But Greensboro police officers say they regularly respond to calls of discarded firearms.
"It's not a common event, but it's not rare either," Officer Ben Wingfield said. "It can happen and it does happen probably more often than some folks think."
Police would not tell FOX8 what kind of handgun the neighbor found.
"What I can say is that the person did find the weapon," Wingfield said. "They called 911. An officer responded and received the weapon."
Police did confirm the gun had been reported stolen.
"It makes you feel kind of leery and scared because all guns are registered," Koppel said. "You hope people register them, but a lot of people don't, and that's not a good thing."
Police records show the man who found the gun removed it from the street and brought it to his house before calling 911 a day later.
"If it is an ideal situation, just leave it be, let police take any chance there might be a malfunction of the firearm," Wingfield said.
But neighbors say they're just happy he got the gun off the street.
"Somebody could have picked that gun up, like a child, and it could have been much worse," Koppel said.
Police say the investigation is still active. They would not release details including how the gun got there, how long it had been there or to whom the gun belongs.