TOTOWA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A man has been arrested in an alleged murder-for-hire plot involving the owner of a popular New Jersey diner.
Georgios Spyropoulos, manager of the Tick Tock diner in Clifton, was arrested for planning to have his uncle ”tortured, robbed and murdered,” state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced Wednesday.
“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 like a missing person’s case rather than a homicide,” Chiesa told reporters, including CBS 2′s Christine Sloan.
Spyropoulos’s uncle, Alexandros Sgourdos, co-owns the Clifton diner and the Tick Tock across from Penn Station in New York City, and manages the one in the city.
“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.
Chiesa said it’s believed Spyropoulos wanted to steal a large amount of cash Sgourdos kept in a safe.
The alleged plot was foiled by state police when Spyropoulos told an undercover trooper posing as a hit man to make sure to get the combination to the safe before killing his uncle, Chiesa said.
“He had enlisted two men who he thought were going to carry out his ruthless plot,” said Chiesa. “Fortunately, the state police were able to completely ensnare him in his own diabolical trap.”
Chiesa said on April 2, Spyropoulos gave the undercover trooper an unregistered handgun, a photo of the intended target, his address and a down payment of $3,000.
“Our trooper played the would-be assassin to whom Spyropoulos gave the gun and cash,” said State Police Col. Rick Fuentes. “Spyropoulos made a deal with the wrong hit man and we were thankfully able to save a life.”
Chiesa said that Spyropoulos said that if Sgourdos’s wife saw anything, she was to be killed, too.
Tick Tock diner customers were disheartened by the allegations.
“Something out of ‘The Sopranos,’ another black mark on New Jersey,” Berry Ann Alberta said.
Sgourdos’ attorney said his client was stunned by the arrest.
“I have spoken with Alex the alleged victim and he is shocked this could have occurred and he feels distraught for the entire family,” Joseph Pojanowski said.
Spyropoulos was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempt to commit murder and unlawful possession of a weapons.
He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
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