Deputies charge 2 men suspected of brutally beating 93-year-old North Carolina man; third suspect on the run

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Alan Hess and Alexander Ballew (courtesy of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Video originally aired on January 20 and does not reflect recent arrests.

SALISBURY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Two men who are suspected of brutally beating a 93-year-old man during a home invasion in Salisbury were charged Sunday, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials reported 93-year-old Thomas Eller was beaten on January 19 while walking his dog along Little Crane Cove in Salisbury.

Eller reportedly told deputies that he had stepped out to walk his dog just before midnight when two men in masks came up, started beating and kicking him and asking for the location of his safe. Eller said he didn’t have one.

Officials told FOX 46 that Eller had gashes to his head and mouth, lost two of his teeth in the attack, and had a bruise on his brain. 

RCSO said detectives were able to identify similar cases in nearby jurisdictions. The Sheriff’s Office partnered with the NC SBI, Mocksville Police, Lexington Police and Winston Salem Police to investigate the cases further.

The Lexington Police Department was investigating its own burglary and armed robbery case from Jan. 11 that detectives said was very similar to theirs in Salisbury.

Detectives identified 33-year-old Alan Shane Hess of Lexington, 27-year-old Alexander Ballew of Guilford County and 31-year-old Nicholas Still of High Point.

Hess was arrested in Winston Salem Sunday and charged with first-degree burglary, robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree kidnapping, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, felony larceny and felony probation violation. He faces similar charges in Lexington.

Ballew is currently an inmate at the Guilford County Detention Center and will be served with warrants there.

Detectives are still working to find and arrest Still.

Wanted – Nicholas Still (courtesy of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office)

Anyone with information is asked to call 1st Lt. Rodney Mahaley at 704-216-8711, Detective Jeremy Thomason at 704-216-8683 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.

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