Lieutenant Anthony F. DiPace
Troop D - Orlando
Lieutenant Anthony F. DiPace has been selected as recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for July, 1998, based on his actions which resulted in the rescue of two women who were being sexually assaulted and held against their will.
On July 24, 1998, just after midnight, Lt. DiPace was serving as the midnight shift commander in Orlando. While at an automated bank teller machine near the FHP office in Orlando to obtain some cash, DiPace was approached by a woman who told him that she and her girlfriend had been abducted at gunpoint. She told Lt. DiPace that her girlfriend was being held hostage in her car which was parked on the opposite side of the bank. The woman was supposed to get money from the machine and return to the car. As the woman left, DiPace went to his car and radioed for backup.
Lt. DiPace followed the car until several Orlando Police Department units responded to assist him, at which time the vehicle was stopped, and the suspect, identified as Eugene Folston, 34, of Orlando, was taken into custody without incident. Folston had abducted the two women on a downtown Orlando street earlier that evening and had forced them into their car at gun point. Folston told one woman to drive and ordered the other woman into the back seat where he sexually assaulted her. He then ordered them to drive to a bank automated teller to obtain money. Folston has been questioned in connection with ten similar crimes near tourist-oriented hotels in Orange and Osceola counties.
During this incident, Lt. DiPace demonstrated a tremendous level of law enforcement skills and judgment which certainly upholds the Florida Highway Patrol's image in the highest tradition.
Lt. DiPace is a fourteen year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to Troop D, Orlando.