Police are investigating a series of daylight robberies in the Alexandria area in which a man posing as a police officer or a utility meter reader has talked or bullied his way into the homes of elderly victims.
Police officials in Alexandria and Fairfax County said yesterday that in the last two weeks they have logged nine robberies and one attempted robbery that appear to be related.
Four have occurred in Alexandria's West End and the six others have occurred just outside the West End in Fairfax or Arlington counties.
In each case, police say, a man who victims have said was in his late twenties or early thir-ties tries to enter a home while the occupant is there.
The man identifies himself as a police officer who is installing burglar alarms or a utility employee who is checking equipment.
On several occasions when the occupant of the house has refused to let him in, police say, the man has attempted to push his way through.
Although none of the robber's victims has been seriously hurt, police say that the man has hit several of them and has thrown others to the floor.
All of the victims in Alexandria have been 65 years old or older, according to police spokesman Lucy Crockett.
Fairfax County police spokesman Warren Carmichael said most of the victims there are about the same age.
So far, police say, the robber has taken household items, jewelry and cash.
On several occasions, he has left in a car driven by another man.
"If someone comes to the door and wants to get in, people should not be afraid to demand the proper identification," Crockett said.
"And if they have any doubt, they should not be afraid to call and verify that identification. We are urging people to use caution," she said.