Mark Balelo, an auction house owner featured on the A&E reality TV show “Storage Wars,” was found dead on Feb. 11, The Ventura County Star reported.
According to TMZ.com, one of Balelo’s employees found his body inside the garage of his Simi Valley, Calif., home.
Armando Chavez, senior deputy medical examiner, refused to provide any information as to Balelo’s cause of death, Reuters reported.
Balelo owned Balelo Inc., a business that specializes in asset liquidations and closeout sales. Until recently, he ran a gaming store called The Game Exchange. Although Balelo loved working — “My work is my hobby nowadays” — his favorite past-times included flying private planes, listening to music, hanging out with friends and going to Vegas. A strong competitor with a no-holds-barred attitude, he was best known on “Storage Wars” for beating the competition by showing up to auctions carrying more than $50,000 in cash.
Balelo once hosted a live auction right before Halloween while dressed as Superman. He carried a “man purse” (or “murse”), which he considered his good-luck bag; the murses became so popular with fans that he later sold them on eBay.
Balelo also was instrumental in helping Nicolas Cage recover a mint-condition copy of a 1938 Action Comics book that was stolen from the actor’s storage locker. The comic book was valued at $1 million.