A man attempted to lure a 3-year-old girl and her mother into the back of his van by asking if they wanted to pet his puppy, police allege. 

The man, later identified by police as Sixtus Udeke, 39, from Walden, New York, is charged with one count of luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure, a felony.

West Manchester Township Police said the mother, her husband and two daughters pulled into a parking space at a Walmart next to Udeke's van, a silver Ford with temporary New Jersey license plates, around 12:30 p.m Friday, Nov. 8.

Udeke asked the mother for a cigarette, which she provided, according to a news release from police.

As the woman was getting her 3-year-old daughter out of the car, Udeke asked the child if she wanted to see the puppy in the back of his van, police said. 

The mother and daughter fled to a nearby store, where they called 911, police said. Police arrived and found Udeke's van, and they initiated a traffic stop.

The mother later positively identified Udeke as the driver of the silver van. 

Police searched the van, and no evidence of a dog or other animal was found inside the vehicle, police said. There were two other men in the van, police said.  

Udeke remained in York County Prison as of Tuesday, Nov. 12. His bail was denied. 

His preliminary hearing is scheduled with District Judge Keith Albright at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21.

— Reach Tina Locurto at or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.

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