TOTOWA, N.J. The manager of a popular New Jersey diner who felt he wasn't getting his fair share of the profits tried to have a hit man kill his uncle, who co-owns the restaurant and a second diner in New York City, authorities said Wednesday.
Georgios Spyropoulos, the 45-year-old manager of the Tick Tock diner in Clifton, asked an undercover trooper posing as a hit man to kill Alexandros Sgourdos, 57, and to get rid of the body so it couldn't be found, authorities said.
The uncle also manages the other Tick Tock diner, which is across the street from Penn Station, in Manhattan.
Authorities said Spyropoulos resented the control his uncle exerted over the New Jersey restaurant, a popular diner whose patrons include fans attending Jets and Giants games at the stadium in the Meadowlands a few miles away. They said he also felt his uncle was taking an unfair share of the profits.
"I think it's an understatement to say they weren't close," Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa told a news conference.
Spyropoulos was being held in lieu of $1 million bail on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a weapon. His attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Chiesa said investigators believe Spyropoulos was motived by greed and wanted to steal a large amount of cash that his uncle kept in a safe. Spyropoulos told the undercover officer, he said, to make sure to get the combination to his uncle's safe before killing him.
The nephew provided the officer with a $3,000 down payment, a photo of his uncle, a map of his home and his daily schedule, authorities said. He also allegedly provided an unregistered handgun.
"Once I leave here today, this is on," the owner's nephew is alleged to have told the officer after meeting April 2.
The total payment for the killing and disposal of the body was to be $20,000.
The nephew wanted to make sure the body was not found so that it remained a missing person case, not a murder investigation, authorities said.
If his uncle's wife posed any problem, Spyropoulos told the officer to kill her, too, authorities said.
The attorney general said a search of Spyropoulos' home turned up two semi-automatic handguns, a shotgun and a rifle that police described as an assault weapon. He said six cellphones and several thousand dollars in cash were recovered from the nephew's Mercedes Benz.
Both Spyropoulos, who is originally from Athens, Greece, and his uncle, live in Clifton.
Authorities said the undercover operation was started as the result of a tip from a state police informant.