Shock swept across the community after it was stolen from Ray Mill Island sometime between 5pm on Friday and 10.30am on Saturday.
The 4ft figure of a boy, his dog and a football was placed there to remember Lee Powell, Andrew Watts, Daniel Howton, and Michael Taylor who died on a skiing trip on Easter Monday, 1988.
Officers found part of the bronze figure yesterday afternoon at an industrial premises in Maidenhead.
About half of it had been cut up to be sold on as scrap metal.
Police are still searching for the other half.
Officers arrested two men at another address and a third person was later arrested at the police station.
The men, aged 31, 26, and 24, have all been arrested on suspicion of theft and remain in police custody.
Inspector Graham Enright from Maidenhead CID said the men are currently being questioned and added: "This was a truly despicable act which saw the theft and desecration of a memorial statue.
"It was completely selfish, greedy and disrespectful in every respect."
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