ROCKFORD, ILL -- The former owner of Avon Marine, who was wanted in Stearns County on felony theft and theft-by swindle charges is dead after a traffic stop in Rockford Illinois.

The Illinois State Police confirm to WJON that 56-year-old Randy Pierson was stopped by police on Highway 20 near Rockford shortly before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. During the traffic stop, Illinois State Police say Pierson drew a gun and the officer who stopped him fired several rounds, none of which hit Pierson. The Winnebago County Coroner says Pierson died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Authorities have been looking for Pierson since his failure to appear for sentencing almost two years ago, for more than a dozen theft charges after allegedly swindling customers out of thousands of dollars in cash and property at his marine business.

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