Mark Balelo, an auction house owner featured on the A&E reality TV show “Storage Wars,” was found dead on February 11, The Ventura County Star reported. He was aged 40.
Several sources close to Balelo report that he was found dead in his car. The vehicle was parked and running in the garage at his auction house in Simi Valley, CA.
Balelo was one of the buyers featured on the show that depicts storage-unit auctions. The former owner of a chain of thrift stores, Balelo had a knack for finding treasure among the trash. Nicknamed “Rico Suave” for his flamboyant style, Balelo once discovered a “man purse” that contained $50,000. He also was instrumental in helping Nicolas Cage recover a mint-condition copy of a 1938 Action Comics book that was stolen from the actor’s storage locker. The comic book was valued at $1 million.
According to our sources, Balelo had been arrested for alleged possession of a controlled substance on Saturday.
Apparently, after Mark Balelo got out of jail this weekend he was very upset, and he asked his fiancée to come over because he was afraid he might hurt himself.
The pair then allegedly met at his office on Sunday and talked for a few hours. Then Mark slept for a few hours. After the nap, his girlfriend said he seemed better.
So the fiancée left Balelo at the office Sunday evening. Tragically, one of Balelo’s employees then found his body on Monday morning.
Balelo appeared on several episodes of “Storage Wars” over the past few seasons.
Law enforcement sources say that an autopsy will be conducted on Mark Balelo’s body today (Tuesday).