Simi Valley, CA – Storage Wars cast member Mark Balelo was found dead yesterday in his car after reportedly taking his own life.
Balelo apparently committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. According to TMZ, “he was found dead in his car … which was parked and running in the garage at his auction house in Simi Valley, CA.”
TMZ adds that Balelo was “distraught” after being arrested Saturday on drug charges. According to Fox News, the arrest was for possession of methamphetamine.
The drug bust may have been the reason Balelo killed himself. Balelo reportedly had a long conversation with his fiancee on Sunday evening about suicidal thoughts after which he appeared to be okay. An employee found his body the next morning however.
Balelo, 40, had previously been in line to increase his profile on Storage Wars with the contentious departure of Dave Hester when information surfaced about his background.
As The Inquisitrpreviously reported, just when it looked like Balelo was poised to become a reality show star, reports surfaced that he was arrested for three felonies in 2007. The charges allegedly included possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and the sale or transport of a controlled substance. Two of the charges were ultimately dismissed, but Mark Balelo apparently pled guilty to the sale or transport of a controlled substance in 2009. The Storage Wars cast member was reportedly sentenced to 60 days in prison and given three years of probation.
Balelo first appeared on Season 2 of Storage Wars and had been featured a few times since then. The Hollywood Reporter notes that, “on the show, he often angered other bidders by showing up with large amounts of money and easily outbidding all his rivals.”