Sex offender's would-be house burns down in Merrick

Posted: Updated:
MERRICK -

A Merrick home that was soon to be occupied by a registered Level 2 sex offender and his wife went up in flames early Tuesday morning and fire officials say it is considered suspicious. 

The fire broke out at the vacant home on Yale Road around 3:30 a.m. and left it gutted. 

Over the weekend, fliers were posted in the community alerting them about Daniel Reilly, who was supposed to move to the neighborhood. The fire marshal says they are investigating whether the house fire was linked to the sex offender's expected arrival on the block. 

Reilly was convicted in 2013 of rape after admitting to having sex with a 14-year-old student. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years of probation. 

Reilly, who lives nearby in North Merrick with his wife and young daughter, told News 12 that he could not speak on the matter. 

Developer John Miller says Reilly's wife, Ann Marie, was the sole purchaser of the home. He says he didn't realize that her husband was a registered sex offender until recently. 

Miller told News 12 that once he found out who the buyer was married to, he tried to buy her out of the contract. 

"We were offering all their money back and more," says Miller. 

More than 60 firefighters were called to extinguish the fire. The Nassau fire marshal has not yet said if an accelerant was found. Officials deemed the blaze suspicious based on the volume of the fire and the fact the home was still under construction. 

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