BOSTON — Boston police say they have recovered a handgun that was reported stolen more than 35 years ago.

Police say they found the long-barreled pistol early Friday morning in a backpack that was dropped by a man being chased by police in the Mattapan neighborhood.

Officers had been following a slow-moving car that wasn’t using its headlights when a man jumped out a rear door and the car sped away.

The car and the man eluded officers, but police say the man dropped a backpack containing a loaded .22-caliber gun and an ammunition magazine.

Police later discovered the gun had been reported stolen in the nearby city of Brockton in 1981.

A police spokeswoman says officers will try to return the gun to its rightful owner after it’s processed by detectives.

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