Mark Balelo | TV auctioneer, 40

Posted: February 15, 2013

Mark Balelo, 40, the flamboyant auctioneer who appeared on A&E's Storage Wars, was found dead in his car Monday morning in what appeared to be a suicide.

According to the Ventura County (Calif.) Medical Examiner's Office, Mr. 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.

Mr. 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 outfits he wore to auctions and for the large sums of cash he took to auctions to buy items.

According to the Ventura County Star, Mr. Balelo was arrested at his business Saturday on charges of possession of methamphetamines.

According to Mr. Balelo's bio on A&E's website, the auctioneer was born in Portugal and lived in Brazil until the age of 14. He owned a gaming store called the Game Exchange and opened his auction house in 2011. - Los Angeles Times

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