Mark Balelo, an auction house owner featured on the reality show “Storage Wars,” died from carbon monoxide poisoning in an apparent suicide, the Ventura County medical examiner’s office said today.
Balelo, 40, was found dead on Monday in his car, which was parked at his Simi Valley, Calif., auction house, authorities said.
The slick auctioneer, who earned the nickname “Rico Suave” on the A&E show, was arrested Saturday for being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of methamphetamine, Sgt. Craig Dungan of the Simi Valley Police Department told ABCNews.com.
Balelo was not breathing when authorities responded to the scene on Monday, Dungan said.
The official cause of death is listed as asphyxia by inhalation of carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes, according to the medical examiner.
With a keen eye for what separates trash and treasure, Balelo made a name for himself and his liquidation business.
In 2011, he helped reunite Nicholas Cage with a rare copy of a 1938 Superman comic book that had been stolen from the actor’s Los Angeles home. The collectible had been missing for 10 years and was worth an estimated $ 1 million.