How does Beatty know who has books and who does not in Fahrenheit 451? I presume word of mouth, but who would openly admit to criminal activity? This scene also seems a bit fishy when out of the blue:
One last thing," said Beatty. "At least once in his career, every fireman gets an itch. What do the books say, he wonders. Oh, to scratch that itch, eh? Well, Montag, take my word for it, I've had to read a few in my time, to know what I was about, and the books say nothing! Nothing you can teach or believe. They're about non?existent people, figments of imagination, if they're fiction. And if they're non?fiction, it's worse, one professor calling another an idiot, one philosopher screaming down another's gullet. All of them running about, putting out the stars and extinguishing the sun. You come away lost."
Beatty seems to know Montag has some books. How exactly is this so if Montag has not told anyone about it?