FRYEBURG — Police said they believe the owner of a backpack containing a loaded .22-caliber handgun, ammunition and a ski mask found near the Rite Aid Pharmacy on Tuesday may have been targeting the store.

Acting police Chief Joshua Potvin said Thursday that the owner of  ELA Sheet Metal on Jockey Cap Lane found the backpack on a trail near the store, which is on Route 302. The backpack also contained gloves, sneakers, sunglasses, a hat and a bandanna, he said.

Local police, working with Oxford County Sheriff’s deputies, learned the gun was stolen from a residence in Brownfield, Potvin said.

“These are items commonly used by those who commit armed robberies. We have notified the immediate surrounding businesses and are asking employees to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity,”  Potvin said in a statement released Tuesday.

The backpack was about a quarter of a mile from Molly Ockett Middle School off Route 302, and near the town recreation center. The pharmacy is in a small strip mall at 119 Bridgton Road, which is Route 302.

Potvin is asking anyone who may have information about the backpack to call Fryeburg Police Department at 935-3323.

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