Who knew auctioning off storage units and rifling through them could cause so much drama? Everyone who watched Storage Wars, that’s who. If you’re a fan of the show like we are, then you know how entertaining it can all be. From the crazy personalities to the incredible treasures found inside, every episode is exciting.
Of course, nothing is ever perfect in the reality show world. Some even claim that it’s completely rigged. Check out the behind-the-scenes secrets of Storage Wars, the most bizarre items found inside the units, and the scandals surrounding the cast of the show.
Hester Says It’s Fake, And A&E Didn’t Argue It
Dave Hester is one of the most opinionated cast members on and off the show. In 2012, he claimed that the show was completely rigged, and that producers stash items in the units.
Usually, we take Hester’s words with a grain of salt, but it was pretty suspicious that A&E didn’t even try to refute it. They just said Hester was free to have an opinion.
Coming up: the storage unit worth $7.5 million!
Jarrod Can Thank His Aunt For Getting Into The Business
Jarrod may have had a dark past but he can thank his aunt and his partner Brandi for turning it around. His aunt actually owns a public storage facility and after spending some time with her there, Jarrod was encouraged to get into the storage hunting game.
He also has his partner to thank for supporting his dreams.
Non-Cast Members Can Sometimes Make Off With The Best
You might have noticed that the cast members always snag the unit even though there appear to be other non-cast members bidding too. Storage Wars obviously wants to focus on their stars, but that means missing out on some good television.
It turns out, even amateur storage hunters can make off with a prize.
A Tragic Loss Of Life
One of the saddest moments in the show’s history was when a cast member Mark Balelo died from an apparent suicide. Police found Balelo dead from carbon monoxide poisoning just days after he was arrested for methamphetamine possession.
Sadly, it seems he had a troubled life and had been arrested for the same offense back in 2007.
Stumbling Onto A Hand Shrine
Obviously, the cast members are trying to make the biggest buck, but they can also stumble onto some very bizarre things too, like the storage unit that appeared to be owned by a hand-obsessed person.
One cast member became the proud owner of a bunch of sculpted hands, posters of hands, and hands from clocks. We don’t wanna know.
Your Favorite Auctioneers Met At, Where Else, An Auction!
Dan and Laura are known on Storage Wars for being no-nonsense when it comes to auctions, but also being extremely lovable. The two actually met at another storage auction. When Laura saw Dan, she told herself she knew she’s marrying that man.
Four months later, she made her move and they’ve been together ever since!
Coming up: one next amateur storage hunter made off with a better treasure than any cast member ever.
Barry Is Quite The Ladies Man
Everyone’s favorite Storage Wars cast member is apparently known to be quite the magnet for women. Ladies of all ages come to the Storage Wars sets to meet him.
Even if he doesn’t find a treasure in a storage unit, a pretty good prize is waiting for him just outside.
The Show Paid For Brandi’s Boob Job
You’d think the cast of Storage Wars would have enough money for their own plastic surgery, but according to resident snitch Dave Hester, Brandi’s boob job was paid for by Original Productions.
Allegedly, they wanted the show to be racier and figured paying for a boob job would help out rating.
Jarrod Has A Dark Past
If you’ve seen every episode of Storage Wars, you might have noticed Jarrod hint to a criminal past. It turns out he spent nearly 16 months in jail in 2000 for a long list of misdemeanors.
Back when he was younger, Jarrod had everything from a DUI to a narcotics offense on his criminal record.
Barry Was Already A Millionaire Before The Show
People like Jarrod and Brandi do storage hunting to make a living. They comb through every single item in the unit to make whatever profit they can. On the other hand, Barry walks past tons of junk to find one magnificent piece.
That’s because Barry is a retired wholesale produce seller. He’d already made his money in Southern California before he took up storage hunting as a hobby.
“Budget Cuts” Allowed The Show To Break Up A Father-Son Team
Darrel and Brandon Sheets were the father-son duo that didn’t always end up with a good haul, but were definitely entertaining. When Season 10 of Storage Wars flopped in ratings, A&E decided to let one cast member go and they chose Brandon to be their victim.
People argue it wasn’t budget cuts though, but that A&E just didn’t like the pair.
Like them or not, Darrell and Brandon did manage to take home the most expensive item found in Storage Wars history.
Darrell’s Fantastic Art Heist
The biggest payout in the history of Storage Wars belongs to none other than Darrell Sheets. He invested a hefty $3,600 into a storage locker, which is pretty pricey, but it paid off.
Inside was $300,000 worth of art by Frank Gutierrez. Even better: it’s not fake. Darrell has been in contact with Gutierrez and it was indeed his old locker.
Long Live The King (And Hester)
One of Hester’s most valuable finds was when he unearthed a stack of newspapers that all reported on the death of none other than Elvis Presley.
The papers were not only extremely rare but they were also in very good condition. The newspapers ended up selling for more than $90,000.
A Storage Unit Treasure Like You’ve Never Seen Before
One of those unaired storage unit discoveries includes a cash bundles worth, oh, just a crisp $7.5 million. Auctioneers Dan and Laura Dotson sold a unit in Indio, California for $500.
The guy who bought it found a safe inside with more than $7 million in cold, hard cash. The previous owner must have died. Finders keepers, right?
The Dotsons Don’t Just Auction Them Off, They Buy Units As Well
Dan and Laura are seen primarily as the auctioneers on Storage Wars, but they do a little bit of bidding as well. Their biggest haul was when she paid $1,000 for a unit that ended up having $500,000 worth of Spanish gold coins inside.
The “pieces of eight” dated all the way back to the 16th century!
Brandi And Jarrod Always Find The Creepy Stuff
Poor Brandi and Jarrod don’t have the best luck. Their weirdest buy came from a unit that had vintage My Little Pony memorabilia.
The giant pink plush dolls and rest of the collection were worth $875. Not too bad for a weird set of old toys in a locker.
Hester Might Actually Have A Heart
Hester comes off like he’s extra aggressive and cutthroat, but he’s only in the business after having a change of heart. Hester owned a furniture store when he was busted for a DUI and forced to do community service at a Goodwill store.
He hated seeing that people could barely afford clothes, so he converted his business into a thrift store and started storage hunting.
Trey Songz And Hester Got Into A Serious Lawsuit
The most unlikely pair in history ended up in the legal system together because both of them wanted the rights to the phrase “Yuuup!”
The judge basically ruled that neither can trademark the phrase because it’s not a unique or made-up word, it’s just a variation of a common phrase. Sorry, boys.
Finally, A Fistfight
It took eight seasons, but finally, in 2015, a physical fight erupted on the show. Allegedly, Dan missed a bid made by Hester. The producers kept pushing Dave to make a comment about it until he lost his cool and went at Dan.
No one got hurt, but Laura was pushed down in the fight and started swearing up a storm.
An Eye For Expensive Items
Barry once bought an entire storage unit because he thought he spotted an ornate gold bowl up at the top of a heap of junk. The ornate bowl turned out to be a hard hat that had been covered in metal and engraved for fun.
You’d think the “bowl” was useless but it ended up fetching a pretty penny anyways.
Playing Dirty Isn’t A Crime
Hester is the king of playing dirty on Storage Wars. In one episode, he used his acting skills to make it seem like a unit was worthless. In reality, he had spotted a bunch of brand new vending machines in the back behind the junk.
After everyone else lost interest, he bought the unit for $1,300 and sold the machines for $28,000.
Ride Some Vintage Camel Saddles All The Way To The Bank
Mary was the star of the spinoff Storage Wars: Texas and didn’t seem too intimidated when she saw a pair of saddles in the back of a unit. That is, until she looked closer and realized they weren’t horse saddles, they were camel saddles.
The vintage camel saddles dated to the 18th century and sold at $1,500 each. Not too shabby.
Voodoo Items To Put A Curse On Other Buyers
As always, Brandi and Jarrod find the strangest things. One storage locker revealed a box of items that appeared to be everything you needed to curse someone with a voodoo spell.
The box held stuff like a deer skull, human hair, chicken bones, and statues of people. Uhm, I’d burn the box immediately.
Faceless Bills Can Still Turn A Profit
It isn’t every day you stumble upon wads of cash that are missing the faces of our past presidents. Immediately, you assume the cash is counterfeit and can’t turn a profit, but you’d be wrong.
One cast member bought the unit for $400, found these wads of faceless bills, and learned that they were still legal tender so they made off with $24,000.
Brandi Sued An Adult Film Distributor
In 2013, Brandi won a lawsuit against an adult film distributor after they posted a video claiming it was her. The video included a woman they claimed was Brandi, but most definitely was not.
Brandi sued for $2.5 million but only ended up with $750. She says she doesn’t care about the money but mostly wants her fans to know she wouldn’t do that.
Darrell Basically Stalked His Wife
It’s not every day that following a car for miles and then holding your number up to their window works, but that’s exactly what happened when Darrell Sheets met his (now ex) wife.
He was driving in California when he spotted Kimber and began to stalk her. Incredibly, it worked and the two got married.
Barry Has A Famous Family
Before Storage Wars, Barry already had a good idea about reality TV because he is the godfather to Jesse James. You might recognize James as the motorcycle customizer from Monster Garage and Jesse James Is A Dead Man.
James was married for four years to actress Sandra Bullock so that basically makes Barry a Hollywood celebrity.
A Spinoff Cast Member Has Family Drama
Kevin Pew, one of the cast members of Storage Wars: Miami, was caught up in some legal issues after his son shot a woman. Kevin was there and had to physically restrain his son.
The scandal was a dark spot for Kevin, but it didn’t affect his time on the show.
Hester’s Lawsuit Screwed Him Over
In 2013, Hester filed his lawsuit alleging that the show was faked and that production plants items in the storage unit. Production listened to his concerns and allegedly stopped planting items…but only in Hester’s units.
If the claims are true, then it explains why Hester turned into such a horrible buyer by the end of his time on the show.
A Diamond In The Rough
One of the earliest victories on Storage Wars came only four episodes into season one. Barry bought a unit for $275 filled with beauty and salon supplies. He figured they’d resell at a decent price but none of that mattered after Barry got to the back of a unit and realized there was a grand piano back there.
The piano ended up turning Barry a sweet $11,625 profit.
Barry Barely Looks At Units
When Barry Weiss decides to be on a unit it’s because something has caught his eye. In one episode, he climbed onto a pile of junk until he saw something he thought might be valuable.
Barry, as you know, wasn’t concerned about paying rent, he was just looking to make one big score.
Darrell Sheets Threatened To Quit
Darrell Sheets was never viewed by A&E as the reason people watch Storage Wars. Once he realized how undervalued, and underpaid he was, he threatened to quit.
His final straw when he heard a rumor the network was going to slash his pay in half. Nothing ever happened and he remained a main cast member.
Barry Has Been In Two Spin-Offs
Barry Weiss is a big character best served in small dosed. A&E learned this the hard way when they cast him in not one, but two spin-show.
Neither attempt was successful. In fact, A&E has tried to launch several off-shoots of the tried and true formula only to be met with failure. How different can Container Wars really be?
After suffering a back injury as a kid, Barry Weiss started smoking marijuana to help deal with the pain. When the drug became legal medicinally, Weiss got himself a card.
Obviously, you’ll never see him treat his back pain on the show. That’s a whole new mess that A&E would prefer to avoid.
Dan Came Close To End In 2014
Dan Dotson nearly died in 2014 after suffering a double brain aneurysm. He required immediately medical attention and was operated on in California.
A week after the procedure, Dan was able to go home and be with his wife. Following his near death experience, Dan did something no one expected. He quit smoking after 40 years.
Laura And Dan Were Cyber Hacked
In 2012, Laura and Dan Dotson faced a huge dilemma when they were cyber hacked. The crooks were able to steal the couple’s credit card and bank information.
The thieves weren’t very bright, though, and used their own information when buying things with their new riches. They were apprehended and the couple’s cards were blocked by their bank.
It’s Easy To Lose Your Locker
One of the key factors in Storage Wars is that you can’t bid on a locker that has an owner. To keep business running, however, lockers can be taken away after one missed payment.
Even worse, if the owner of a locker passes away, the locker is still put up for auction. Next of kin is not notified and it’s business as usual.
They Aren’t Always Betting On Something
To help increase drama on the show, sometimes the shots you see of the cast bidding on lockers are actually the casts bidding on nothing at all.
The truth is that not every auction is exciting. Sometimes only one person will bid, and there’s no drama. To fix this, the crew has the cast cast fake bids away from the locker to edit into the scene.
Cast Interviews Are Scripted
Again, trying to up the drama as much as they can, producers on the show will often script one on one interviews they have with cast members. That means what you’re hearing is all lies.
For reality shows this is pretty common practice. It’s disheartening to hear about Storage Wars because it’s not your typical reality show, but some lies are universal.
Brandon Sheets Could Have Gone To College
Before Storage Wars began airing, Brandon Sheets had to make a big decision. He was just finishing high school and had to decide whether he wanted to pursue a higher education.
He chose to skip college and get into the storage business with his father. The move might not have worked out since Brandon was forced to leave the show over “budget constraints.”