Tick Tock: Clock Runs Out on Former Manager in Murder for Hire Plot
Monday, July 14, 2014 • 6:01pm
WEST ORANGE, NJ - Former Tick Tock Diner Manager Georgios Spyropoulos, 46, of Clifton, today pleaded guilty to a a first-degree charge of conspiracy to commit murder before Superior Court Judge Donald J. Volkert Jr. in Passaic County. The announcement of the charge came today from NJ Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman.
“Thanks to the New Jersey State Police, we have a guilty nephew going to prison, instead of an uncle in a shallow grave,” said Hoffman. “Had they not intervened, this murder plot appears likely to have been carried out, because Spyropoulos did everything in his power to set it in motion, including delivering a gun and a down payment to the man he hired to kill his uncle.”
Spyropoulos believed he was hiring a hit man to kill his uncle by marriage, Alexandro Sgourdos, manager of the Tick Tock Diner in New York City. Instead, he hired an undercover detective for the New Jersey State Police. Sgourdos is also a co-owner of both the New York location as well as the Tick Tock Diner on Route 3 in Clifton, long considered to be an iconic New Jersey landmark.
According to investigators, Spyropoulos resented his uncle for his control over the establishments and the profit he made from them. He admitted to hiring a hit man to to threaten, torture, and kill Sgourdos after obtaining information on the location of a large sum of money Spyropoulos believed he had.
The state will recommend Spyropoulos receive 10 years in state prison, of which he must serve 85 percent without possibility of parole under the No Early Release Act. In addition, he faces up to five years of supervised release. Spyropoulos signed a consent order today that prohibits him from ever having any contact with the victim, the victim’s family or any of the family’s businesses in the future. Judge Volkert scheduled sentencing for Spyropoulos for Sept. 19.
“This was an intricate plot driven by greed and jealousy,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Spyropoulos wanted a family member tortured and ultimately killed, and he went to great lengths to make that happen. I am proud of the great work by our detectives and those involved with the prosecution.”
State Police Detective Sergeant Peter Layng of the Drug Trafficking North Unit led the investigation with assistance from detectives from the New Jersey State Police Violent & Organized Crime North Bureau, arrested Spyropoulos on April 9, 2013. Spyropoulos was indicted on Nov. 6, 2013. Deputy Attorney General Yfantis and Taggart presented the case to the state grand jury.
The Office of the Attorney General noted, "On March 28, 2013, the informant and the undercover State Police detective met with Spyropoulos. During that meeting, which was secretly recorded, Spyropoulos agreed to pay the “hit man” $20,000 if he tortured or threatened the uncle to obtain information related to a large sum of cash Spyropoulos believed his uncle possessed, then killed the uncle and disposed of his body. Spyropoulos wanted the hit man to make sure the victim’s body was not found because he believed there would be less of an investigation if law enforcement viewed it as a missing person case rather than a murder.
On April 2, 2013 the three men met in the parking lot of the Home Depot in Clifton. Spyropoulos gave the undercover detective a revolver to use in the killing, two photographs of the uncle, a Google map showing the location of the uncle’s house, and a $3,000 down payment for the hit."
Spryropoulos was arrested on April 9, 2013 with an initial bail of $1,000,000. On May 21, he posted a reduced bail of $600,000.