I'll grant you they'll give you the report form paperwork. If they're actually there. I swear, where I lived after college, one of my roommates actually came home when a thief was in the house stealing the TV. He struggled with the guy, who got away, went down the street to the police station, and there was no one in the entry hall, no one answered the buzzer, no phone to call in, nothing.
He only found them when he went around the corner to the coffee shop to get his nerve back, around people. They took his report, but it was pretty embarassing all around.
I also think your dad was were lucky. I strongly suspect that a real thief will take the money _and_ the credit cards, and throw it in the trash. They've little to risk by doing so, and much to avoid by getting it out of circulation. It's the casual thief, the "Oooohhhh, look, a wallet! With cash!" person who'll leave it to be found. Credit cards are potentially as valuable as cash: professional or semi-professional thieves can do quite a lot of damage with them.
It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead