CHICAGO (CBS) — Since the 1980s, Frank Coconate has owned a high-powered rifle that once belonged to a Chicago Outfit hitman, and now Coconate wants to sell it.
Coconate showed off the rifle as he talked to CBS 2’s Jim Williams over Zoom.READ MORE: Weekend Guests At Six Flags Great America Say Crowds, Closed Rides, Huge Fight Involving 20 People Ruined Their Experience
“There’s no bullets in it,” he said.
Coconate was once close to an infamous Chicago mob family. His close friend, Frank Calabrese Jr., described his own father, Outfit boss Frank Calabrese Sr., in our CBS 2 documentary, “What Happened to Chicago’s Mob?”
“He did a lot heavy work,” Calabrese Jr. said of his father. “It meant hurt people, killing people, blowing things up.”
Cocanate told us he was treated like a member of the Calabrese family back in the 1980s.
“I have to be honest with you – I was thrilled,” he said. “You get excited because you’re around these people. These people have such energy around them.”
Coconate said Frank Calabrese Sr. took him to target practice with that rifle. It belonged to Frank Sr.’s brother, Nick – a reputed hit man.
“Nick Calabrese was a top killer for the mob,” Coconate said.
At the target range, Coconate was a poor shot. Frank Calabrese Sr. was not.READ MORE: Massive Chemical Plant Fire In Rockton, Illinois, Could Burn For Days
“This was Frank’s target, the old man,” Coconate said as he showed off an old paper target with bullet holes right at the center. “It was bullseye – three shots.”
Coconate believes he was being groomed for a life in the mob, but was convinced that was not the life for him – as he told Frank Calabrese’s son.
“He said, ‘Listen that stays with us and it’ll never be brought up again,’ and he said, ‘Would you kill – would you kill for the crew? Thought for a while, thought for a while, I said: ‘Can’t lie, I can’t do it. I can’t. I can’t take someone else’s life.’”
Still, Frank Calabrese Sr. gave Coconate this rifle, which he’s had now for 35 years.
“It’s a one-shot sniper rifle,” Coconate said.
He calls it a ghost that he’d like to sell.
“I would like to put in one of those museums – those mob museums,” Coconate said. “I would like to sit with Nick Calabrese and talk to him about the story about the gun.”
Nick Calabrese is said to be in witness protection. He turned on his brother, Frank Sr., died in prison nine years ago after he was convicted in the Family Secrets case. Frank Jr. is out of the mob and leads tours of famous mob sites in Chicago.MORE NEWS: Mayor Lori Lightfoot Backs Declaring Juneteenth An Official City Holiday Starting Next Year
As to the rifle, Coconate said Calabrese Sr. told him the rifle was clean and was never used in a crime. But can we know for sure at this point whether that’s true? No, we cannot.