A Queenstown bar that posted on Facebook CCTV images of two men they accuse of stealing and threatened to kill them say the post was meant as satire.
Skybar accused the pair of stealing an eftpos machine in January.
Director Daniel Taiaroa said the post "was obviously meant as satire" and "satire ... is not illegal".
Skybar reported the theft to police on Tuesday.
On Tuesday evening the bar posted two images, taken from CCTV cameras, of the alleged offenders.
Along with the images the bar sent a message to the men via its Facebook page, using an almost verbatim quote from the 2008 move Taken, starring Liam Neeson.
"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you return my terminal now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you."
By yesterday afternoon the post had gained 215 "likes".
However, Senior Sergeant John Fookes said the post was "pretty unwise".
"It's a threat to kill somebody. Legally speaking, the threat to kill or do grievous bodily harm to somebody in most circumstances is likely to be an offence."
The maximum penalty for either offence was seven years' imprisonment.
Mr Fookes said an officer spoke to Skybar management about the post yesterday.
Mr Taiaroa said the post had received a "huge amount of public support".
"This public support is a tribute to the good humour in which the post was intended, as well as bringing to light the abhorrent behaviour by these individuals."
The bar's CCTV footage showed the alleged offenders making two transactions prior to taking the terminal, which cost $1950 to replace and was "completely useless to anyone but us".
"As stated in the Facebook post, if the terminal is returned, that'll be the end of it.
"If not, we will pursue them."