Mark Balelo (Facebook)
Mark Balelo, an auction house owner on “Storage Wars,” has died. He was 40.
Sometimes referred to “Rico Suave” on the show because of his eye-catching outfits, Balelo was found dead Monday at his Simi Valley, California, business, reports the Ventura County Star.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office did not give a cause of death for Balelo, saying an autopsy would be done on Tuesday. However, TMZ reports he was found dead in his car, which had been left running, and died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
His death came on the heels of a drug arrest. On Saturday, he was picked up at his place of business for alleged possession of a controlled substance. TMZ reports that he was “distraught” after being released from jail. He was scheduled to appear in court on February 19.
Balelo appeared on the A&E series, which shows storage-unit auctions, several times over the last few seasons. In addition to his fashion choices, he was known for his deep pockets and for outbidding his rivals.
In 2011, Balelo made headlines when he purchased a locker which contained a rare 1938 comic book, valued at $1 million, which had been stolen from Nicolas Cage a decade earlier. The comic was later returned to Cage, who auctioned it off himself soon after and pulled in a hefty $2 million off the sale. Last year it was announced that a movie would be made about the comic book heist called “Action No. 1.” The comedy is in development at Lionsgate.