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Queenstown police say a parking officer was threatened and his $3069 ticketing machine thrown into Lake Wakatipu in an "unprovoked" attack yesterday.
They are appealing for information about the incident.
Sergeant Kate Pirovano said the parking officer was walking along Marine Pde at 2.10pm when a man threatened to "punch him in the face", and to "get him" when he was alone in a dark place.
Sgt Pirovano said the parking officer might have been trying to take a photo of the attacker with the ticketing machine when it was grabbed out of his hands and thrown into the lake.
The attacker was described as a skinny man in his early to mid-20s, possibly Caucasian, wearing a baseball cap and a green and blue hooded sweatshirt with horizontal stripes.
He was walking with a female companion, described as wearing a black beanie and blue jeans.
The male attacker fled towards Beach St after the incident.
Police were using the resort's CCTV cameras to assist with the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Queenstown police on (03) 441 1600.