The 2,500-pound statue affectionately known as "Tommy" was stolen from the library last week.
Workers at Claxton Recyling said they became suspicious when two people tried to sell a mangled piece of bronze.
"What they basically did was destroyed it, so we wouldn't be able to tell what it was," Claxton employee Layla Feyre said.
"When I started looking at it, the guys were acting weird, saying, 'Is there any problem? Is there any problem?" said Clemente Tirado, another employee. "And I said, 'No, just wait.' So that's when I called the officer to come and see what was going on."
While the workers waited for an off-duty Dallas police officer, they took pictures of the men and got their contact information.
"We take their driver's license or ID, and we verify the address," Feyre said.
The bronze sculpture of a boy reading a book used to sit in the courtyard of the Allen Public Library.
Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse said the book only recognizable piece of the statue.
"That's the piece the detective remembered and, unfortunately, it's in a bunch of pieces right now, and, obviously, it's not going to be repaired," he said.
While "Tommy's" fate is now known, it doesn't soften the blow for library staff members. Tom Keener said children have being asking about the statue.
"It's not the cost of the money as much as it is to see the children disappointed when they come by and say, 'Where is he?'" said Tom Keener, of Allen Public Library. "It's like he died."