For three years, police of the Washington metropolitan area have been hunting an "articulate and seemingly well-educated man" who has compiled a vicious record of rape and burglary at some of the area's most fashionable addresses.

"We've tried every combination of police techniques there is to catch him," said Montgomery County police detective Mike Shawen. "He's very fast very efficient and very hard to catch."

But last month, detectives from the District of Columbia, Arlington, Prince George's, Fairfax and Montgomery counties finally obtained a description of the suspect without a mask.

At a press conference yesterday in Rockville, detectives released a composite sketch of a 6-foot, 175-pound man who was seen in January for the first time without a face mask.

"The man is notorious," said detective Jack Toomey. "Most burglars do not want their victims to see them. This guy doesn't care. He probably considers himself a master criminal. He'll stop at nothing."

The suspect, who police said was about 30 years of age, wears casual clothes, a mustache and neatly trimmed dark hair. He carries a revolver and chooses only the most fashionable single family homes to break into usually from a rear entrance.

Because the burglaries and assaults have occurred from December to March between 6 to 10 p.m., detectives have dubbed the suspect the "Standard Time Rapist."

Police say that four incidents in which the suspect has been surprised while ransacking homes for gold, silver, antiques and cash, he has raped three women at gunpoint, including a 74-year-old homeowner. He attempted to rape a fourth woman.

Detectives have also linked the suspect to four robberies in which victims were bound while their assailant bragged, "I've killed people," according to investigators.

Police say the suspect's method of operation fits the pattern of more than 100 unsolved burglaries in the Washington area, most in the Bethesda and Chevy Chase areas.

"He strikes in Montgomery one night, and Fairfax the next," Shawen said. "He tries not to hit an occupied house. It's a matter of accident if someone comes in. In two of the rape cases the victims were asleep upstairs." s