It wasn’t a good morning in Myrtle Manor.
Patrick’s Mobile Home Park, a Myrtle Beach trailer park where 10 episodes of “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” is filmed, was the target of an overnight theft.
The casualty? A 13-inch sign bearing the name “Myrtle Manor.”
According to a Myrtle Beach police report, someone stole the Myrtle Manor sign from Patrick's Mobile Home Park.
The report said the theft occurred sometime between 10 p.m. March 5 and 4 a.m. March 6.
Cecil Patrick, owner of the park, said in the report the sign bandit cut the chains that were holding the smaller sign to the bigger sign.
The sign was valued at $380. Patrick said in the report he didn’t know who took the sign.
Within hours, news of the theft went viral, appearing in a Columbia newspaper and on a Greenville television station website.
“I’ve never seen a little $400 sign get so much attention,” he said.
In a telephone interview with the Chronicle, Patrick said March 6 incident wasn’t the first time someone tried to steal the sign.
Myrtle Manor’s patriarch said on Monday night thieves tried to unscrew the sign from its hinge, but they were unsuccessful.
Patrick secured it with a chain Tuesday, but the thieves returned overnight with bolt cutters, he said.
“Anytime you get a lot of traffic like we have, you know you’re going to see something like that,” Patrick said. “We fixed it, we thought.”
Patrick described the sign as about 30 inches long and 24 inches high. He said the park is offering a $500 reward for anyone providing information leading to an arrest.
Myrtle Manor debuted on TLC Sunday. Dubbed a "docu-series," the 10-part TV reality show chronicles life in a Myrtle Beach trailer park.
The show, which has received mixed reviews, drew 1.3 million viewers in its debut.
Shannon Martin, senior director of publicity for the show, declined to comment about the theft.
“This is the first I’m hearing of it,” she said Wednesday. “It’s not something the network would comment on.”
Capt. David Knipes, spokesman for Myrtle Beach Police, said the case remains active, but no arrests have been made.
An official motive for the heist hasn’t been identified, though Knipes said it’s likely the thief or thieves were seeking a piece of personal memorabilia.
“There’s nothing much to go on at this point,” Knipes said.
Patrick said there’ve been no other thefts at the park, though he’s not taking any chances.
The park owner said he discussed security options with TLC executives in light of the show’s newfound notoriety.
“They were concerned that we were upset about it, which we’re not,” Patrick said. “Evidentially this has gone national.”
A new sign is on its way and options for keeping this one safe include securing it with a steel cable and taking it down at night.
“We’ve talked with security and they’re probably going to start back tonight,” he said. “A lot of that stuff back there is valuable.”
Meantime, Patrick is taking everything in stride regarding the theft. Perhaps that has something to do with the show’s success.
He said TLC informed him “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” was the network’s No. 1 debuting show for the past two years and No. 2 all time.
“It [the show] is big and going to get bigger,” Patrick said. “The merchandising people are operating on Cloud 9.”