Mark Balelo, Storage Wars star, Simi Valley businessman, found dead

Simi Valley police today said they are investigating the death of a local businessman who starred on the reality show "Storage Wars" as an apparent suicide.

Mark Balelo, 40, was found dead at his business in the 4400 block of Runway Street about 6:05 a.m. Monday, police Sgt. Craig Dungan said.

Balelo had been arrested Saturday on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine, police said, and he was scheduled to appear in Ventura County Superior Court on Feb. 19.

The Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office is conducting an autopsy today to determine the exact cause of death.

Balelo owned Balelo Inc. in Simi Valley, a liquidation merchandise business.

The company billed itself as one of the nation's leading wholesale liquidators. Its services include distributing and online retailing of consumer electronics, toys and clothing.

No one answered the phone at the business this morning.

Balelo was interviewed by The Star in April 2011 after he helped return a rare copy of a 1938 comic book valued at $1 million to its owner, actor Nicolas Cage.

Jim Terry, 36, said today that he appeared on "Storage Wars" with Balelo and was surprised to hear about his death.

"He did not seem like a guy who would take his own life," said Terry, of Tampa Bay, Fla. "It just doesn't add up to me."

Terry described Balelo as energetic and eccentric. "I gravitated toward him because he kind of had a pro wrestling feel to him."
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