D.C. police said yesterday they are continuing their search for two men who robbed and severely beat an elderly couple on Tuesday after invading their Northwest Washington apartment.

The men escaped an attic-to-basement, apartment-by-apartment police dragnet of the 10-floor Brandywine Apartments building at 4545 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Police launched the intensive, four-hour manhunt in the spacious, 306-unit apartment building at about 5 p.m. after three officers, called to the scene by a suspicious resident, heard screaming and frantic calls for help from behind the couple's thick metal door, which the suspects had locked from the inside.

While the officers tried to get inside the apartment, the suspects made a makeshift rope of bedsheets and draperies and climbed down the south side of the building, facing away from Connecticut Avenue. Police surrounded the building, but apparently not until after the men had escaped.

The couple, identified by police as Samuel Wolf, 84, and his wife Leah, 79, had been beaten and tied up. Samuel Wolf, his hands and feet bound, crawled to the door and unlocked the deadbolt for police.

The couple was rushed to Georgetown University Hospital where they were both reported in fair condition yesterday with head and facial injuries.

Witnesses told police that only one suspect was seen reaching the ground. Police theorized that the other suspect crashed through a large window and entered a fifth-floor apartment before escaping.