Mark Balelo, a star of A&E’s Storage Wars, was found dead in his car Monday morning in a business warehouse in Simi Valley, Calif.
The Ventura County medical examiner’s office determined the Portuguese-born Balelo, 40, died after inhaling carbon monoxide and car exhaust fumes. He was said to have been discovered by one of his employees in the garage of his auction house.
Last Saturday, says TMZ, Balelo had been arrested for a drug-related offense, and Sunday he reportedly was visited by his fiancée, responding to his request to come see him.
According to his A&E bio, Balelo lived with his family in Brazil from the age of 3 to 14, when he went to work on one of his family’s tuna boats. He eventually went to San Diego, Calif., then Newport Beach, finally moving up to Los Angeles, where he sold expensive European cars – until the economic crash of 2008.
Then, he said, he started “selling things on eBay from home. It started as a hobby and quickly turned into an empire.”
Combing liquidations, customer returns and closeouts for items, “I grew tremendously fast with over $1,000,000 in sales in the first six months of opening the new business,” he said, claiming that the Simi Valley-based “Balelo, Inc. now employs over 50 people with several locations.”