The death of Mark Balelo, an auction-house owner who appeared as a buyer on A&E’s hit reality TV show “Storage Wars,” has been ruled a suicide by the Ventura County, Calif., medical examiner's office. Balelo, 40, died of carbon-monoxide poisoning after inhaling car-exhaust fumes. His body was discovered Feb. 11 inside the garage at his business in Simi Valley, Calif.
Nicknamed “Rico Suave” for his flamboyant style, Balelo was memorable on the show for bringing more than $50,000 in cash to storage auctions and carrying a “man purse,” which he called his “murse.” He first appeared during the show’s second season.
Balelo killed himself just two days after he was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine.
In addition to owning Balelo Inc., a company specializing in auctions, liquidations and closeout sales, Balelo also ran a gaming store called The Game Exchange. A native of Portugal, his hobbies included flying private planes and listening to music. He was engaged to be married.