Georgios Spyropoulos, the 45-year-old manager of Tick Tock diner in Clifton, New Jersey, appeared in state Superior Court in Paterson in shackles on April 12 and denied charges he tried to hire a hit man to kill his uncle, Alexandros Sgourdos, the 57-year-old co-owner, and get rid of the body. He has been held on $1 million bail since being arrested on April 9.
“Spyropoulos allegedly hired a would-be hit man, who turned out to be an undercover state trooper, to have his uncle Alexandros Sgourdos tortured, robbed and murdered,” Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said. He added: “He allegedly devised a plan to hire a hit man to kill his uncle and get rid of the body so it would be treated as missing person’s case rather than a homicide.”
According to court documents, Spyropoulos gave a policeman, who was pretending to be a hit man, a chrome-plated revolver wrapped in a dishtowel in order to kill his uncle, whom Spyropoulos believed to have a considerable amount of money.
The documents also indicated that he gave an informant a pastry box containing roach spray and insect traps, as a disguise so the hit man would pretend to be an exterminator to manage to enter in the target’s house.
Officials said that Spyropoulos wanted the combination to a safe at the diner to be extracted from Sgourdos before murdering him, and then take the money from the safe. The hit man would be paid from the cash stolen out of the safe.
“We allege that Spyropoulos resented his uncle’s control over the family-owned diners and believed the uncle received an unfair share of the profits,” Chiesa said. Spyropoulos’ attorney, Matthew Cavaliere denied the charges of conspiracy to commit murder, attempt to commit murder and unlawful possession of a weapon. He said that the allegations are a sensationalized story.
“The family is distraught, they’re mortified, they’re embarrassed,” Cavaliere said and continued: “This is a family of strong, passionate personalities. They know him; they know his personality. They can’t believe he would ever have the idea to orchestrate something like this.”
Spyropoulos’ lawyer described him as a devoted, passionate man whose close-knit family, including the alleged target, had been traumatized by the allegations, as reported in the N.Y. Daily News. “Sometimes, what happens, even in close families, tempers flare and people say things and sometimes even do things and that’s a part of impassioned families”, Cavaliere told reporters on Friday 11.
Spyropoulos is married and father of two young children. His attorney said they are all devastated and are now trying to raise the cash bail to get him out.
The case will go before a grand jury. Prosecutors have asked that Spyropoulos surrender his passport and stay away from his uncle and his uncle’s family, according to CBS New York.