Mark Balelo, nicknamed Rico Suave on Storage Wars, was found dead inside his car in apparent suicide on Monday.
Balelo died from carbon monoxide after keeping his vehicle on and parked inside the garage of his auction house in Simi Valley, California. He was said to have been discovered by one of his employees Monday morning. Authorities are investigating his death and a full autopsy will be completed on Tuesday.
Last Saturday, the Storage Wars star had been arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine. When he was released from jail, he called his fiancée because he was afraid of hurting himself, according to TMZ. The pair reportedly met at Balelo’s office on Sunday, where they talked for hours before he took a nap, woke up and seemed better. Balelo’s fiancée left him at the office Sunday evening and an employee found his body the next morning.
This isn’t the 40-year old, Mark Balelo’s first run-in with the law. In December, Radar reported that he previously spent 45 days in jail after violating a probation order from an earlier felony drug conviction. That instance stems back to 2009 when he was charged with the sale or transportation of a controlled substance.
Storage Wars Mark Balelo is best known for helping return a rare Superman comic book valued at $1 million to its owner, actor Nicolas Cage.
Balelo owned Balelo, Inc., which purchased the contents of storage lockers and liquidated their assets. The comic book was found in a storage locker a decade after it was stolen from Cage.
He is also known for bringing a bag filled with up to $50,000 to the auctions in order to out-bid his competitors and win the storage lockers. Nicknamed “Rico Suave” on Storage Wars because of the flashy attire he wore to auctions. He started to appear on Storage Wars in the second season in place of Dave Hester.
Storage Wars has been under scrutiny recently after Dave Hester, a former cast member, filed a lawsuit against the show. In the lawsuit, Hester claimed the show to be fake, and said the producers would place valuable items in certain units to make the show more interesting. The suit also claimed the show rigged the bidding process, reports Fox. A&E said the suit is baseless and asked a judge to toss it.
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