If you're going to run away from the police, be sure you have a full tank of gas.

A robbery suspect in Washington apparently ignored that axiom, and as a result was being held as a fugitive yesterday after leading police on an early-morning chase through the city. He outran one group of officers, but was apprehended a short time later when he pulled into a service station near his home in Prince George's county.

It started, according to police, about 2:30 a.m. when undercover First District officers John Saylor and John Robinson saw three men rob Thomas Reed of $55 in front of his home in the 600 block of East Capitol Street.

Saylor and Robinson--joined by Reed in his own car--chased the two-door Gremlin bearing the bandits.

The Gremlin stopped briefly in the 200 block of 7th Street NE, where one of its occupants got out and ran. Police arrested Michael Newman, 22, of the 500 block of 42nd Street NE, and resumed chasing the Gremlin. Other police cars joined in the pursuit as the Gremlin led them on a winding course down Bladensburg Road, Eastern Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue, New York Avenue, 4th Street, Mount Olivet Road, W Street, back to Bladensburg Road to Montana Avenue, 16th Street and finally to 16th and W, where police said they lost sight of the car.

They gave up the chase, but a lookout was posted with Prince George's County police. Twenty minutes later, an officer spotted a Gremlin on Annapolis Road. Police followed the car to a service station in the 6300 block in Hyattsville. There police said they arrested Steven Christian, 26, a block from his home in the 3800 block of 64th Avenue.

Christian was being held as a fugitive from D.C. police, officers said. Newman was charged with robbery by fear. Police were still seeking a third suspect.