Two Loudoun County women were confronted a few miles apart on Sunday morning by a man with a gun during what officials described as robberies. The same man was apparently involved in both incidents, according to an official account.
Both women escaped and were unharmed. Neighbors in the Sterling area of eastern Loudoun said the episodes were unusual and a cause for concern.
Each of the incidents occurred in the gray, rainy morning hours on residential streets separated from any main thoroughfare.
In the first, the Loudoun County sheriff’s office said, the victim was approached by a man she did not know about 6:15 a.m. on a street of townhouses north of Algonkian Parkway and east of Potomac Falls High School.
In the incident, in the 46500 block of Lynnhaven Square, the man brandished a gun and demanded that the victim drop some items and take off clothing.
She ran into her house, leaving belongings behind, the sheriff’s office said. She reported that a purse was missing, the sheriff’s office said.
The second incident, according to the sheriff’s office, was reported a short time afterward on a short street near Algonkian, in the 10200 block of McKean Court, about three miles southeast of the first robbery.
The sheriff’s office said a man with a gun approached a woman who was unloading groceries.
The man pointed the gun, and the woman screamed and fled.
Nothing was reported taken, the sheriff’s office said.
In a statement issued Sunday, the office said the incidents “are believed to be related.”
The episodes were surprising to Larry Eskridge, who lives near the scene of the second incident and said the area is known as the Cascades.
“It’s a relatively quiet community,” he said, “a very safe community.”
Another neighbor, Maria Evans, said she had thought of the neighborhood as peaceful. “It’s scary,” she said of the two incidents.
The sheriff’s office said the robber was described as a light-skinned black man about 5 feet 8 inches tall with a medium build. He was said to be in his mid- to late 20s and wore a dark hooded sweatshirt that concealed his face.
He may have been driving a small burgundy or red vehicle.