Published On: Tue, Feb 12th, 2013

Mark Balelo, Rico Suave of ‘Storage Wars’ commits suicide after drug charges

Mark Balelo, the flamboyant auctioneer who appeared on A&E’s “Storage Wars,” was found dead in his car on Monday morning, in what appeared to be a suicide.

According to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office, the 40-year-old Balelo died of asphyxiation from carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes.

He was found in a car parked in a garage at his Simi Valley auction house, Balelo Inc.

Balelo, known as “Rico Suave” on the series, which follows a team of auctioneers who sell off the contents of reclaimed storage units to buyers, drew interest for the outlandish outfits he wore to auctions and for the large sums of cash he brought to auctions to buy items.

According to the Ventura County Star, Balelo was arrested at his business on Saturday on charges of possession of methamphetamines. He was due to appear in court on Feb. 19.

Beyond Balelo’s “Storage Wars” fame, he was also known for returning a copy of “Action Comics” #1, the first appearance of Superman, to actor Nicolas Cage in 2011. The 1938 comic, with an estimated worth of $1 million, had been stolen from Cage’s home more than a decade earlier. Balelo had acquired the comic when he purchased the contents of a reclaimed storage locker.

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About the Author

- Stephen is a contributor and writer on The Dispatch. Stephen is the founder and editor for the Steven Spielberg Fan Club website and contributes to pop culture stories on The Dispatch, especially upcoming movie news. Beginning in 2016, Stephen took the role of Managing Editor for the Tampa Dispatch.

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