The suspect allegedly crossed the country twice in stolen vehicles, killing eight people, robbing homes and businesses and paying his way with stolen credit cards. For documenting this bloody trail and collecting evidence that led to the arrest of Allen Leroy Anderson, a yound D.C. detective has been given the police department's meritorious service award and two other awards.

Detective Clyde R. Pulsifer, 33, of the department's auto theft unit, was assigned to the case nearly a year ago when California authorities asked for help in tracking down the killer of a retired garage manager in rural Madera County Oct. 12. A car reported stolen in the southeast section of D.C. last August was discovered near the sport where the California man was found beaten to death.

Credit care receipts found in the stolen car proved to be Pulsifer's most valuable clues. Investigation revealed that the cards had been stolen and by following the trail left by their use, Pulsifer tracked his suspect back and forth across the country and connected him with the killing of men and women in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia, Florida, Iowa and Washington state in addition to the California murder. All the victims except the California man were shot in the back of the head with a .22 caliber revolver.

Anderson, who has spent 11 of his 24 years in prison for burglary, auto theft and forgery, escaped from a Halfway House in Seattle, Wash., last June 1, according to police. He was arrested last Oct. 28 in Los Angeles. A .22 revolver, stolen in Texas June 17, was recovered at the same time.

Police said that Anderson has pleaded guilty in the California and Iowa murders, and that he is expected to be returned to Flordia in connection with the killing there. Virignia authorities have initiated proceedings to bring Anderson to Virignia in connection with murders last August in Alexandria and Albermarle County, police sources said.

Pulsifer was awarded the meritorious service medal for "outstanding professionalism and dedication to duty in the detailed collection and dissemination of information" in the investigation. His wife, Susan, pinned the medal on her husband at a luncheon in his honor last week, attended by city government leaders and high-ranking police officials.

Police Chief Maurice J. Cullinane presented the award, which went to a member of the criminal investigation division for the first time in 10 years. The meritorious service medal usually goes to policemen for heroic acts such as life-saving and rescues.

Deputy chief Robert B. Wissman, chief of detectives, said that Pulsifer did "an outstanding piece of detective work. It encourages me to have detectives working under my command that have the perseverance and ability to make a case like this," he added.

Pulsifer received two other awards - a citation as policeman of the month for last February, with a plaque presented by Assistant Chief Burtell M. Jefferson, and another plaque sponsors of the luncheon.

Pulsifer said he accepted the awards "on behlaf of all officials and members of the squad. I learn something from them every day. They helped me on this case with ideas and with support."

His superiors said Pulsiver, who has been with the department since 1971, is an "outstanding policeman" with an ability to "handle cases with tact and motivate other members of the squad."